DALLAS — Despite being selected with the No. 18 overall pick in June’s draft, Dallas Mavericks rookie Shane Larkin’s NBA journey may not have officially started until Monday when the former Miami standout practiced with the team for the first time since requiring offseason ankle surgery.
Suffering a fracture in his right ankle before the Mavericks’ summer league squad left for Las Vegas, Larkin had been reduced to rehabbing through the team’s training camp and first three regular-season games after surgery on July 16. Now, after going through full-contact drills with his teammates, Larkin hopes to return to the court in the next two weeks before trying to add depth to the Mavericks’ backcourt.
“I felt good out there,” the 5-foot-11 Larkin said after his first practice. “I don’t have my quickness back yet, but that will come in the next couple of practices. Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, a week or week and a half, I’ll be back being able to play.”
When the cat-quick guard does return to the court, the Mavericks (2-1) expect to add just another weapon at coach Rick Carlisle’s disposal. That should suit Carlisle just find as he tries to replicate the Mavs’ balanced scoring from Saturday night’s 111-99 win over Memphis.
Bouncing back from their first loss of the season Friday night in Houston, the Mavs utilized six scorers in double figures to claim the win over the Grizzlies on the second night of a back-to-back. Carlisle now hopes that depth and balanced attack will become his team’s calling cards this season, looking for his players to once again share the scoring responsibilities Tuesday night when the Kobe Bryant-less Los Angeles Lakers come to town to begin a stretch of four games in five nights.
“Well, it was needed the other night, and to beat teams that are great defensive teams like Memphis, you know, you’re not going to have one guy go off for (a lot) of points,” Carlisle explained. “You’re going to have to keep the game moving and get a lot of people involved, so that was good. We did some good things to win that game, but now we’ve got to move on to the Lakers, and they’re a different look this year. They’re playing a lot with smaller, athletic guys. The 3-point shot is a real big part of their game, and they still have great players with [Steve] Nash and [Pau] Gasol, who can cause a lot of problems.”
Note: The Mavericks return to action at American Airlines Center on Tuesday night when they take on the Los Angeles Lakers. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest and nationally on NBA TV at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.