NBA Position: PG
Hometown: Orlando, FL
High School: Dr. Phillips
DRAFTED NO. 18 OVERALL BY THE DALLAS MAVERICKS (VIA ATLANTA)
Ceiling: Terrell Brandon
Basement: D.J. Augustin
- Elite Quickness
- High Motor
- Quality Play-Maker
- Court Vision
- Quality Shooter
- NBA 3PT Range
The most improved player in college basketball last season was Miami Hurricanes point guard Shane Larkin who after having an average freshman campaign followed it up with a very impressive sophomore year.
Larkin has pedigree as the son of legendary baseball player Barry Larkin, despite the difference in sport the athletic bloodline ran through to Shane.
He does not have prototype NBA size for his position and is likely going to be a sub-six foot point guard. Larkin has adequate strength for his size, but is not a compact strong point guard for being a smaller one and will need to add strength to play his knifing style of getting into the paint to create offense off of the pick-and-roll. The traditional height is not there for Larkin, however he is a very good athlete that can explode to the rim and finish above the rim. That is not his game, playing above the rim, nor is it something he can do in traffic, but he has the explosiveness to make plays.
Speed and quickness are the leverage Larkin has to mask his lack of height. There are few point guards that are quicker with the ball than Larkin.
Having elite speed is one thing, but having great pace is more important, which is exactly what Larkin does with the ball in his hands. Larkin is a great ball-handler with creativity and change of pace to get into the lane off the bounce. He keeps the play alive with his dribble even in traffic or tough defensive pressure to break the defense with his passing ability. Young point guards often pick up their dribble before the play has begun or is over, but Larkin is ahead of the game with his ability to keep the play alive.
In isolation situations with the ball Larkin is the best point guard in this class at getting around his defender to create offense for himself going towards the rim or pulling up for three.
Larkin is not an isolation scorer at the point guard position, but has the ability to score off the bounce or break down the defense. He was in the Top Nine percentile in that scoring 1.014 points per possession. That was a very small part of his offensive game this season and a very effective one.
The area where Larkin played the most was in pick-and-roll situations (46.7% of his plays) where he had the opportunity to make plays with the ball in his hands. The pick-and-roll is the bread and butter of the NBA game. It is a necessity for success where Larkin was in the Top Eleventh percentile of all of college basketball last season creating 0.95 PPP.
What makes Larkin effective off the dribble are the different dynamics and ways he has been able to create off of the play itself.
With the ball Larkin probes the defense and looks for his teammates often getting into the lane before finding the roll man for a shot at the rim or his man in the corner for the three. Defenses key on Larkin’s ability to turn the corner and get into the paint, but when they slip under the screen he is capable of hitting the three (40.6%) or if they go wide he has the slipperiness to cut between the defenders going towards the rim.
As a scorer off the pick-and-roll Larkin is a very good shooter that can hit the NBA three with consistency when given an inch. He has also shown the ability to hit the 8-10 foot floater with separation in the lane.
Where size becomes an issue for Larkin is on the defensive end. Opposing offensive players are capable of shooting over Larkin in spot-up and isolation situations allowing 0.819 PPP on the defensive end. Playing with an NBA sized front line allowed Larkin to be aggressive on the ball. With his quick hands and instincts he is able to disrupt ball-handlers as they attack creating turnovers and deflections.
His lateral quickness allows him to stay in-front of his man full-court if necessary and to move with them as they create in the half-court.
That quickness allows Larkin to defend the pick-and-roll as well as handoffs very effectively at 0.610 PPP defending the most common NBA plays for his position. Speed allows him to create opportunities on the defensive end with his deflections, hands, and general defensive instincts.
Overall Larkin is an above average pick-and-roll offensive player capable of creating offense for himself and his teammates. He is one of the better ball-handlers in the class with the creativity and quickness to get into the lane against quality defenders consistently. That same quickness allows him to make plays on the defensive end forcing turnovers.
His size and lack of strength will make the physical transition to the NBA difficult and he will need to play with a backcourt mate that has size to make up for the lack of with Larkin.
Larkin’s speed more than makes up for the lack of size and his basketball IQ allows him to read the create opportunities for his teammates. Larkin showed great progression and made the leap to this level in just a year showing the work ethic and motor of the sophomore point guard.
Shane Larkin is another one of the stories of the 2013 college basketball season that came without expectations. He began to get notice as he led the Miami Hurricanes to a No. 1 Overall ranking mid-way through the college season and to a high seed in the NCAA Tournament.
He is known for being the son of legendary baseball player Barry Larkin, but he is making a name for himself as a consummate leader on the hardwood.
On the offensive end Larkin uses his elite speed to weave through pick-and-rolls to get in position to make a play. He utilizes the ball-screens as well as any player in college basketball keeping the defense on edge with his dribble. He has a compact, tight handle on the ball that allows him to maneuver between the defenders on the perimeter and in the lane.
With the ball he is primarily looking to make plays for others and keep his teammates involved. Larkin does a good job balancing the offense by getting the ball to the open man after the defense breaks down. Larkin has great court vision and is able to make plays all over the court no matter the angle or positioning. Coming off of the pick-and-roll, and NBA staple, Larkin is able to make the majority of his plays for others. When he turns the corner he has the ability to find shooters and cutters, as well as score himself.
His size will make it tougher for him to finish at the next level as a sub-six foot guard with minimal explosiveness above the rim, but he is a crafty finisher.
Larkin can hit the college three and mid-range two’s to keep the defense off balance. He is not a pure three-point shooter, but is capable of knocking them down off the dribble and with rhythm. In the paint he can finish at the rim with crafty finishes, with a soft touch on the floater, and is tough enough to absorb contact to get to the line.
There is potential for Larkin to return for his junior season as the primary option on a depleted roster where he would have the opportunity to develop more of his game.