There are waiver wire pickups, and then there are the guys who are really deep. This weekly segment will discuss a player each week that could be of use in any league with at least 10 teams and category-base scoring.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are hemorrhaging players faster than the U.S. economy is money. For owners of players like Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, the season has been one long waiting game, but those minutes have to go somewhere, and others are making the most of their opportunity.
The Timberwolves originally handed the bulk of Rubio’s minutes to Luke Ridnour who, thanks to his marginal ability to collect assists when he gets playing time, remains a barely-relevant fantasy player. He’s still the starter, but his minutes have begun to flow the direction of Alexey Shved.
The 23-year-old Rookie from Russia is making his case not only for Rubio’s backup when he returns, but as a potential starter at shooting guard. Shved has broke the 20-minute barrier in each of the last three games, including 33 on Monday night. He’s been in double-digit points in two of those games and had at least five assists in all three. Unlike Ridnour, he doesn’t turn the ball over nearly as much either, if you’re in a league that penalizes that.
You’ll have to keep an eye on Shved’s playing time as he’s still establishing his spot in the Timberwolves rotation, but while Ridnour is nothing more than a fill-in, Shved has the potential to be much more. Some scouts saw him as a combo guard with scoring potential, meaning that when Rubio returns to action, Shved could see time along side him in the Wolves starting rotation when Brandon Roy is inevitably out of action, or as the third guard in the rotation, which should still warrant enough playing time to make him a valuable fantasy player.
For now, Shved should provide a cheap boost in assists without being a zero in the scoring and rebound categories. If he has a flaw, it’s his shooting percentage, but you’re not going to get a perfect player on the waiver wire. If you need assists, or a guard of any kind for that matter, take a flier on Shved and keep an eye on his minutes.