Postgame: Shane LarkinMavs G Shane Larkin talks about his first game in the NBA, how it felt to have his family in the stands, what coach expects of him going forward and more.
The first round of the NBA draft brings with it certain hopes, a look to the future and a chance to add needed youth. Shane Larkin, Dallas’ first-round pick in this year’s draft, represents all three of those things.
Larkin joins the Mavs at a position where the team was lacking last season. Despite the arrival of Jose Calderon, the return of Devin Harris and the emergence of Gal Mekel, Larkin may be the team’s future at point guard.
Only playing two seasons of college basketball at the University of Miami, Larkin still brings skills that were missing last year. The point guard spot was manned in 2012-13 by Darren Collison, a 38-year-old Mike James, the now-departed Dominique Jones and the failed experiment that was Derek Fisher. Consistency was a problem.
Jason Kidd manned the position from 2008 through the 2011-12 season but, after his departure, consistency became an issue. Last year it fell to Collison, the opening day starter who didn’t develop the way the team had hoped and lacked the ability to dish to ball to others the way the team needed.
James won the starting job and did a good job after joining the club but wasn’t viewed as the man to carry the club to the next level. Shane Larkin is in a unique position in that he comes into a team that has re-tooled the point guard spot. The additions of Calderon and Harris give Larkin the time to learn the pro game and develop into the Mavs’ future.
Larkin has been compared to former Mav J.J. Barea because of the instant energy he brings to the game.
“I don’t think he and Barea are exact duplicates,” coach Rick Carlisle noted, “but we’ve missed, the last couple of years, the elements that Barea brought to the game here. Being able to get to the rim, being able to get it going from the three-point line, the resourcefulness and other intangibles. Shane’s going to bring those type things.”
Another area Dallas was lacking in last season was the ability to create offense off the pick-and-roll.
“Our pick-and-roll game this last year was not at the level we’re used to so we wanted to get better,” Carlisle added. “Shane was one of the best in college basketball at doing that.
“He’ll see a lot of different coverages in this league but, from what we’ve seen, he does a good job of reading situations.”
Having someone that can be counted on night-after-night to get the ball to Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion will only make those players that much more effective in their time on the court.
One of the only negatives for Larkin could be his 5-foot-11 frame. However, he is capable of using his speed to offset his lack of size, and with big men around him drawing attention in the paint, it should give Larkin the ability to make plays on the drive or finish them himself.
The first-round pick fractured an ankle just before the beginning of the NBA summer league which sidelined him for training camp and the beginning of the season, but the Mavs got their first look at Larkin in game conditions on Nov. 18 against Philadelphia when he had three points, three assists and three steals in eight minutes.
Larkin isn’t expected to be a star right away. With the roster they’ve built this season, he has ample time to learn under established veterans like Calderon and Harris.
It’s expected the Mavs will bring Larkin along slowly. He fits the Mavericks style and the future of the point guard position looks to be in good hands.