If you don’t already know, starting point guard for the Miami Hurricanes Shane Larkin has declared for the NBA. The son of MLB Hall of Famer Barry Larkin is projected as a mid-to-late first rounder or early second rounder. With his combination of tremendous speed, incredible court vision, and lights-out jump shot, Larkin is going to be a much-needed asset for some NBA team. The question still remains though of where the former ACC Player of the Year will end up. Let’s analyze which NBA teams could land Larkin based on their needs and position in the draft.
New York Knicks, Pick Number 24
The Knicks thought that they had their point guard problem solved with the addition of Raymond Felton. However, if you’ve followed the Knicks the last couple of years, you know that Felton’s play has been inconsistent at best and that he has been plagued by injuries. The Knicks added Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni to add depth to the point guard position, but both players are slow and have trouble creating their own shot, forcing Carmelo Anthony in numerous isolation situations. Larkin would add some much needed speed to a slow and injury-prone backcourt. He fits well into the Knicks’ current system under Mike Woodson because of his quickness and ability to hit the long-range jumper. Also, being the defensive minded coach that he is, Mike Woodson would not mind adding the second best defender in the ACC alongside of lockdown perimeter defender Iman Shumpert. Don’t be surprised if Larkin is playing at Madison Square next season if he drops this far in the draft.
Utah Jazz, Picks Number 14 and 21
With the solid frontcourt of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, the Utah Jazz barely missed the NBA Playoffs this past season. The Jazz struggled at the point guard position all season, mainly using Randy Foye and Moe Williams, both of whom are better playing the two-guard. The Jazz have no true point guards signed on their roster for next season. Larkin has a great chance to excel in Salt Lake City because the roster has a similar make up to his Miami Hurricanes team of a year ago. The combination of Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, and Derrick Favors is similar to the trio that Larkin had in Miami in the form of Reggie Johnson, Julian Gamble, and Kenny Kadji. Gordon Hayward, Jeremy Evans, and Moe Williams (provided that he resigns) resemble Larkin’s wing players, Durand Scott, Rion Brown, and Trey McKinney Jones. The Jazz will probably look to add two guards with their two first round picks and it is highly probable that Larkin could be one of them.
San Antonio Spurs, Pick Number 28
Everyone knows that the San Antonio Spurs have an All-Star starting point guard in Tony Parker. However, the Spurs have a clear deficit at the back-up point guard position, and it was exposed this past season with Parker’s injury. The Spurs mainly used players such as Nando de Colo, Gary Neal, and Manu Ginobili to run the point during Parker’s absence, all of whom are at their best playing off the ball. Greg Popovich could use a player like Larkin to relieve Parker from playing heavy minutes. Nothing could be better for Larkin than to play for the Spurs because of Pop’s unmatched ability to highlight the strengths of his players. Larkin also fits in well into the Spurs’ system because of his focus on defense and his ability to shoot the three. Although Larkin may not be happy being a back up initially, he has plenty of time to learn and grow under the guidance of Tony Parker and could eventually take over the ropes as the floor general for the Spurs.
I only focused on the Jazz, Knicks, and Spurs because they have an apparent need for a point-guard and are optimally placed in the draft to take Larkin. Wherever Larkin ends up, there’s no doubt that he is going to be a positive contributor for his team in one-way or another.
It was a disappointing night for the Miami Hurricanes. The Canes shot an abysmal 35 percent including 8-26 from the three-point line en route to 71-61 loss to Marquette. The score does not justify how badly the Canes played and how well the Golden Eagles played. After being down 4-2 in the first couple of minutes, Marquette never looked back, getting to the basket at will and stifling the Canes on defense. Marquette looked especially prepared for Miami’s high-ball screen, showing high on Shane Larkin to ensure he did not gain momentum heading towards the basket and running three-point shooters off the line to keep them off balance. It also did not help Miami’s cause that they shot one for twelve in the first half from the three-point line, some of which were good looks and had fell all season for the Canes. Meanwhile, on the other end, Miami had no answer for Marquette’s big men. Davante Gardner, Jamil Wilson, and Chris Otule all scored in double figures, giving the Golden Eagles a huge advantage for points in the paint. In addition to the paint play, Marquette also hit three of six from the three-point line, including two in the first half. Vander Blue’s jump shot with three seconds left gave Marquette a thirteen-point lead at the break.
The Canes shooting percentage could only go up in the second half considering that they shot less than 30 percent in the first twenty minutes. Unfortunately for Miami, Marquette started the second half on fire, making eight of their first nine shots. Every time it looked that the Canes were gaining some momentum, Marquette would answer with a lay up on the other end or the Canes would shoot themselves in the foot with a turnover. The Canes never got closer than 14 for most of the second half. Marquette did a phenomenal job breaking down the Canes’ pressure by passing over the top and getting lay-ups for Gardner or Otule. By the time the Canes were able cut the lead under 14, it was too little too late.
Almost everyone underperformed for Miami, starting with Durand Scott who had his second poor shooting performance, making only three out of his thirteen shot attempts. Trey McKinney Jones and Rion Brown, normally known as sharpshooters, missed seven and ten shots respectively. On paper, Shane Larkin had a decent game with fourteen points and four assists. However, anyone who watched the game knows that Larkin did not have the type of impact that he normally does. Marquette did a great job containing him, which prevented Larkin from penetrating and setting up himself or his teammates with good looks. In terms of the big men, Kenny Kadji was the most effective for the Canes tonight, scoring six out Miami’s first seven points. The Canes needed much more from him as well as from Julian Gamble considering that the perimeter players were playing so poorly.
Despite how tonight ended, these Miami Hurricanes have plenty to be proud of this season, as does their head coach Jim Larranaga. Though he fell short of reaching the Final Four, as he did with his 2006 George Mason team, Larranaga still led Miami to arguably its best college basketball season ever. With Jim Larranaga as head coach and Shane Larkin leading on the court, the Canes have plenty to look forward to next season.