Signature Moves: Alexey Shved, Khimki

Apr 28, 2020 by Euroleague.net Print

To say that Alexey Shved is a prolific scorer is a rather significant understatement of the very obvious. The Khimki Moscow Region sharpshooter smashed the competition’s all-time scoring record in 2017-18 with an astonishing 740 points. To put that into context, the next-best figure was Keith Langford’s 609 points for UNICS Kazan the previous season, nearly 20% lower than Shved’s record. Of course, it helped that Shved played more games than previously was the case due to the extended season, but his per game average of 21.76 points during that 2017-18 season was also the best ever achieved by anyone playing more than 20 games – the highest single-season average was 26.0 points by the legendary Alphonso Ford in 2000-01, but the latter only played 12 games to do so.

Shved’s career averages also stack up very nicely, with his 16.34 points per game ranking as the sixth-best of all-time and the best out of all players with at least 60 career appearances (Ford, again, is top of the pile with an average of 22.22 points in 54 games). That means Shved has scored more points per game than titans of the European game such as Anthony Parker (16.3 ppg.), Dejan Bodiroga (16.1 ppg.) and Marcus Brown (15.3 ppg.). The Khimki ace’s legacy as one of Europe’s greatest ever scorers is assured.

More than anything else, though, Shved will be remembered as a remarkable three-point shooter. Again, the stats tell the story: in 2017-18 he set a new record for three-pointers made (107) and the following year – which was shortened by injury – he achieved a new all-time high for triples per game (4.07). The consistency with which Shved scores from deep, even when every opponent is firmly prepared to prevent that exact thing from happening, arises from his ability to be extremely inventive with his three-point shooting. Rather than relying on rapid ball circulation to create open looks, he is a player who can make his own shots from…well, pretty much anywhere.

Perhaps the best example of Shved’s deep, deep shooting came at AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan in Round 11 of his record-breaking 2017-18 season when he nailed a hard-to-believe triple from inside the mid-court circle despite being well guarded by Jordan Theodore. And this is a great illustration of the key to Shved’s scoring skills despite being closely guarded: his incredibly quick release. His hands are so fast and his technique is so smooth, defenders playing against him might know exactly what is coming but they still can’t do anything about it.

Also worthy of note, again related to Shved’s ability to make threes even when everyone knows he will take on a shot, is the way he steps up for his team in the latter stages of tight games. As his former Khimki teammate Charles Jenkins once noted, “Down the stretch we know who’s going to get the ball and make the big plays for us.” Opposing players also know who will get the ball, but that doesn’t mean they can stop him – even when they happen to be his former teammates.

In the latter stages of Khimki’s playoffs meeting with CSKA Moscow in April 2018, Shved drained a career-best 8 three-pointers – the second-most ever recorded in the playoffs – culminating in a go-ahead strike with just 1 minute remaining. The man guarding Shved for that play was Nikita Kurbanov, an outstanding defender who has inside knowledge of his adversary’s skills after they shared the CSKA locker room together for five seasons at the start of their careers. But even Kurbanov, with all his ability, know-how and experience, was left helpless as Shved dribbled between his legs, stutter-stepped to his right and instantly released a pinpoint strike from a meter outside the three-point line.

However well prepared you are, and however far from the basket you might be, sometimes there’s just no stopping Alexey Shved.