2013 NBA Draft Profiles: Shane Larkin

Today’s featured draft profile is on University of Miami standout, Shane Larkin. Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows two things: I love point guards, and I’ve been sold on Larkin since the Hurricane’s 27-point flogging of Duke, a contest in which Larkin shined with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists. The sophomore guard was expected to return to Miami after the Canes won the ACC regular season and tournament championships, but decided to take his shot at the NBA early.

Birthday: 10/2/92 – Projected NBA Position: Point Guard – Class: Sophomore – Ht: 5-11 – Wt: 171 – Hometown: Orlando, FL

2012-13 Per Game Averages: 14.5 Points – 4.6 Assists – 3.8 Rebounds – 47.9 FG% – 40.6 3P% – 77.7 FT%

Larkin's Pre-Draft Combine Results

Larkin’s Pre-Draft Combine Results

Strengths

- Strong leadership qualities: tough, confident, and competitive

- Very quick first step and adept at getting to the rim

- Excellent understanding of and ability to run the pick and roll

- Consistent shooter with good range

- Superior handles/utilizes a lethal crossover to get past defenders

- Good passer and decision maker under pressure

Weaknesses

- Size will scare teams away

- Short reach makes finishing at rim with larger defenders on him a challenge

- Average defender

- Opposing teams may look to attack him in the post

Son of Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin, Shane Larkin established himself as one of the best point guards in the country last season, leading an upstart Miami squad to the ACC Championship and a #2 seed in the East Regional entering the NCAA tournament. The Canes would make it to the Sweet Sixteen, toppling #15 Pacific and #7 Illinois before falling to #3 Marquette.

Larkin showcased a natural feel for the point guard position, boasting an assist/turnover ratio of 2/1 in his sophomore season. Second year coach Jim Larranaga has made the pick and roll a focal point of Miami’s offense, and Larkin ran it extremely well, displaying his ability to read defenses and attack accordingly. Along with his aptitude for attacking the rim off the pick and roll, he is a strong shooter who can make defenders pay for going under the screen, as he shot 47.9 % from the field and 40.6% from deep in his final season. Larkin also gave us a look at his natural athleticism with his impressive showing at the combine, including his 44 inch vertical leap, the highest of this year’s class.

So why haven’t you heard of him until now? The answer is simple, but not necessarily satisfying: he’s a small guy. Franchises avoid short point guards like the plague because height isn’t something you can work on in the gym or the film room. While I agree that size does matter in the NBA, Larkin’s natural skill and understanding of the game will keep him in this league years after he is drafted, and is right up there with Trey Burke on my list of point guard prospects. I’d go as far as to say Larkin would be a top 10 pick if he was a mere three inches taller.

The Knicks started this season with Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, and Pablo Prigioni as their point guards. As of today, Prigioni may not return as it has been reported that his family wants him to come home, and Kidd, who ended the season on a historically bad run, is supposedly contemplating retirement. I can’t even begin to properly define the irony that the Knicks are now dealing with depth concerns at the point guard position, so I’ll just-*eye-twitch*.

Sorry about that. As I was saying, Larkin’s youth and explosiveness would be greatly welcomed on the oldest roster in the NBA and one that ranked 26th in the league in pace. His pick and roll prowess would also be a great asset for New York, who according the My Synergy Sports, ended possessions with the pick and roll ball handler 15.2% of the time. Larkin can work his way into the heart of defenses and create open looks on the perimeter, something the Knicks sorely missed in their playoff match-up against the Indiana Pacers. He has “solid backup” written all over him, and if his skills continue to improve, maybe he cracks the starting lineup in the next few years.

The draft is over a month away, and by then Larkin will more than likely have moved up franchise’s draft boards, but in the event that his size is just too much of a turnoff for the first 23 teams selecting, I would be absolutely ecstatic to see him in the orange and blue.

Follow Brandon on Twitter @Ayo_Rush