With the new Euroleague season nearing, BallinEurope is once more break down each of the teams individually on 16 consecutive days in the run up to tip off. As with last season, we’re going in reverse order from the opening round of games. Today we look at Khimki, back in Euroleague after a year’s absence, and arguably a more balanced side than the one that never got it together in years past. Emmet Ryan looks at the one man that everyone’s going to be watching for Khimki this season, Alexey Shved
It’s surprising how quiet Alexey Shved is once a game is done. Even in victory, he’s anything but the guy people love to react to on the floor. Ballers typically work on the art of saying nothing controversial post game but Shved has it on another level. He doesn’t need to think to make bland platitudes sound genuine, there’s honestly a good chance that he really has no other thoughts on what just happened when the horn sounds.
Everybody knows what you get with Shved. He’s a high volume scorer who can create and offers more on defence than most guys in that type of role despite being far from a monster on D. With Shved there will be stretches where nothing finds the mark but he’ll always get his hide to the line. Shved draws fouls on a level that might even impress Keith Langford (miss you bae) and he makes those free throws. That’s what keeps Shved relevant during the minutes where nothing is landing from the field.
That streakiness is a source of frustration but one that should play an interesting role over the course of the regular season. It’s not quite a case of live by the Shved die by the Shved of the 2015/16 Khimki side but ride still promises to be gloriously ridiculous.
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Coach: Georgios Bartzokas
Arena: Khimki Basketball Center/Mytishchi Arena, 6,000/8,000
Last season in Eurocup: 10-4, lost quarter finals
Last season in VTB: 19-5, lost finals
Who’s new? James Anderson (Darussafaka), Anthony Gill (Yesilgiresun), Tyler Honeycutt (Anadolu Efes), Charles Jenkins (Crvena Zvezda), Stefan Markovic (Zenit), Malcolm Thomas (Jilin), Ivan Viktorov (Nizhny Novgorod), Andrey Zubkov (Lokomotiv Kuban)
Who’s gone? Jeremy Evans (Atlanta Hawks), EJ Rowland (Eskisehir), Stanislav Ilnitskiy (Lokomotiv Kuban), Valeriy Likhodey (Nevesis), Nobel Boungou Colo (Real Betis), Markel Brown (OKC Thunder), Robbie Hummel (TBC), Jacob Pullen (Philadelphia 76ers)
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There’s a ton to like here in terms of balance. While the losses are notable on an individual standpoint, the additions of Jenkins, Honeycutt, and Markovic really give this side the pieces required to be a relevant side on the floor when Shved is going through his slumps. Jenkins in particularly is a really smart addition who should fit nicely into what will likely be a simple but effective gameplan from Bartzokas.
The length of the season is going to tell on this roster when it comes to finding go to guys to work around any possible injuries or absences. On the whole however I really like the mental side of this outfit and we should see a far more resilient Khimki side than the typical decent autumn dire spring side we have grown used to in previous Euroleague campaigns. They will definitely be in the mix.
Fearless prediction: 9th. Always the most controversial slot to pick, who is just not quite good enough for the post-season, and Khimki certainly will have their chances to prove me wrong. Somebody has to get a late season disappointment, Khimki seem the logical call for it this time around.
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