Just call him Grateful Shved.
It took participation in two organizations' nightmare seasons, a deadline-day trade and injuries to teammates, but Knicks guard Alexey Shved finally got his first NBA start since 2012-13 on Monday night.
The 26-year-old Russian was the Knicks' leading scorer with 19 points in a blowout loss to the Denver Nuggets.
With the injured Jose Calderon and Tim Hardaway Jr. out Tuesday night, Shved got his second start as the Knicks faced the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena. He was even better in the Knicks' 87-82 defeat.
Shved came close to a triple-double. He had 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. His career high is 22 points, with Minnesota in 2012.
Andrea Bargnani scored 20 points and Cole Aldrich had 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks (12-51), who have lost five in a row.
Even with Hardaway possibly returning Thursday against the Lakers in Los Angeles, it's hard not to see Shved getting his third straight start.
"I think he's looking forward to playing as much as possible," coach Derek Fisher said. "He's a confident player and he's capable of making plays out there shooting the basketball and off the dribble. He's also a really good passer. We feel like his ballhandling ability will give us a little bit of a different look than maybe what we've had over the last few weeks. Tim's out, so we're just going to give this a look and see how it goes."
On Feb. 19, the Knicks acquired Shved and two future second-round draft picks from Philadelphia for Pablo Prigioni. "It feels great," Shved said. "I'm just trying to play hard. Show to everybody I can do something. Like any player, right?"
Like most Knicks, Shved is not under contract for next season. So he is auditioning not only for team president Phil Jackson, but for the rest of the NBA.
"I want to show I can play great on both sides of the game," Shved said. "Offense and defense. That's it."
So far, the Knicks like Shved's ability to shoot the three and also penetrate and get to the free-throw line. On Monday, Shved shot 6-for-13 from the field and 4-for-6 from the line.
Last night, the Knicks looked as if they were on the way to another lopsided loss until they took the lead in the third quarter. It was tied at 65 heading into the fourth, but the Knicks were unable to outmuscle the Jazz. Utah (27-36), which was without injured leading scorer Gordon Hayward, were paced by Derrick Favors' 29 points.
Shved finished 6-for-11 from the field, 4-for-6 on threes and 5-for-5 from the line in a game-high 41:21. He missed a chance at a career high in points when a three-point attempt in the last minute went in and out.
"I think because we didn't assume he could or couldn't do certain things, we've just given him an opportunity," Fisher said. "He's showing us what he can do."
As for Hardaway, Fisher said he hopes to have the shooting guard back when this five-game western swing continues Thursday against the Lakers. "Feeling better, but not good enough to get out there," Fisher said. "We'll give him another day or so and hopefully by Thursday night in L.A., he'll be ready."