The Dallas Mavericks‘ first-round pick from the 2013 draft has finally been cleared to practice. Shane Larkin broke his foot during the final practice before the Mavericks’ Summer League was about to kick off.
Both Larkin and the team have been patiently waiting for the rookie to return to health in order to start getting some experience under his belt. While he isn’t expected to play in a game for at least a week or possibly longer, it is very encouraging to hear that he is back at practice and doing well.
Dallas needs Larkin to be a major rotation player, as they are very thin at point guard. They drafted the 5-foot-11 guard from Miami mainly because of his elite pick-and-roll ability as the ball handler, similar to what J.J. Barrea was able to do in his time with the team. Having a player that can run the pick-and-roll effectively with Dirk Nowitzki could make the entire team’s life much easier.
And Larkin was that type of player at Miami. Advanced analytics showed that he was the most efficient collegiate athlete in the country at scoring as the pick-and-roll ball handler, so there is some reason to be excited.
Larkin seems to be a solid defender fundamentally, but his lack of size will be a problem most nights at just 5-foot-11 and 175-pounds. Getting Devin Harris back from a similar injury will be a huge help on the defensive end of the court, but there is still no timetable for his return.
Even though Larkin may be one of the smallest players in the NBA, the Mavericks need his play to be big.