Talking about the possible success of a Dallas Mavericks draft pick is like pulling teeth.
However, I’d like to make the exception.
Shane Larkin looks, plays and acts like the most recent successful draft pick in recent memory.
The Mavs’ string of recent draft picks has just been painful. Here are some noticeable ones: Byron Mullens, Nick Fazekas, Maurice Ager, Josh Howard, Marquis Daniels, Etan Thomas. Devin Harris wasn’t drafted by the Mavs, neither was Dirk Nowitzki. If they were, order would be somewhat restored.
The jury remains out on Jae Crowder on whether he can consistently become the next solid small forward in Dallas. Every time he posts a triple-double in the D-League, a smile comes across my face. And then when he takes an ill-advised corner 3-pointer, the hair comes out.
When Larkin played at the University of Miami, he wasn’t the flashiest point guard in the world. He was just a guy known for making big plays when it counted. Not only that, he was smart with the ball. When he was a sophomore and saw an increase of 11 minutes per game in his playing time, Larkin went from 1.9 turnovers per game to only 2.3 per.
That’s amazing for a guy who played 36 minutes a game as a sophomore.
Having a guy like that is the kind of point guard that Rick Carlisle needs. He saw Jason Kidd, one of the smartest ball-handlers of all-time, lead his Mavericks to a championship as a close-to-retired point guard. When Carlisle has a guy who can score and be smart with the basketball, his offense runs more efficiently.
That’s why the Mavs paid a good chunk of money to Jose Calderon on a three-year deal. He’s known to be one of the better point guards in the league that take care of the ball.
That’s what Carlisle likes, and that’s what Larkin can be with a few more years.
The good thing about Larkin is that he’s not being rushed to contribute. Thinking of guys in the past, such as a Rodrigue Beaubois, they showed so much promise that he was hailed as being the second coming of great players for Dallas.
The more Roddy B. got hurt, the less time he saw. Not to mention committing turnovers that are completely mind-boggling. There’s a reason why he can’t find a job in the NBA right now.
Larkin has seen his share of D-League stints this year, but they haven’t been his fault. Now with Devin Harris back healthy, along with Gal Mekel on the verge of returning, Larkin’s minutes were not going to be best utilized in Dallas. Frisco has utilized him very well.
It’s almost the same situation that’s happened with fellow rookie Ricky Ledo. Added with the fact that he was a year removed from the game and needs more time to adjust, Ledo wasn’t going to get playing time with the plethora of depth that the Mavs have at shooting guard and small forward.
Next year, Larkin will get his chance to shine with more playing time. He had an 18-point game against Phoenix earlier this season, and had a great stint against the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this year in Dallas.
The difference between Larkin and the rest of the draft picks Dallas has acquired over the years is that Larkin knows his role. He knows his strengths and weaknesses, which is why he’s been so productive.
Shane Larkin is the future. There’s something about him that I like. And he’s shown it when he’s been on the floor.
You can reach Danny Webster on Twitter by following @DannyWebster21.
Tags: Dallas Mavericks