MINNEAPOLIS – Alexey Shved is the lone Timberwolves player selected to compete in this year’s BBVA Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star weekend in Houston.
On Wednesday, Shved became one of nine rookies selected to play in the game. Nine second-year players were also honored with spots on the roster, and though point guard Ricky Rubio seemed a likely choice for that bunch, he was not included. Neither was Derrick Williams, who also might have had a shot.
The eight rookies selected in addition to Shved were all first-round picks in last year’s draft: New Orleans’ Anthony Davis (first pick), Charlotte’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (second), Washington’s Bradley Beal (third), Cleveland’s Dion Waiters (fourth), Portland’s Damian Lillard (sixth), Golden State’s Harrison Barnes (seventh), Detroit’s Andre Drummond (ninth) and Cleveland’s Tyler Zeller (17th). Shved is the only undrafted rookie in the group.
Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving headlines the group of second-year players selected, which in addition to him comprises Denver’s Kenneth Faried, Detroit’s Brandon Knight, San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, Houston’s Chandler Parsons, Golden State’s Klay Thompso, Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson, Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic and Charlotte’s Kemba Walker.
The players will be drafted, in a sense, at 6 p.m. on Feb. 7, when the two general managers for the game, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal, will select their squads on TNT. After that, fans will get a chance to vote on the five starters for each team.
This season, Shved has averaged 10.7 points and 4.6 assists in 36 games. If he keeps up his current numbers for the rest of the season, the Russian guard will become the first undrafted rookie to average at least 10 points and four assists since the Philadelphia Warriors’ Danny Finn did so in 1952-53.