Prospect watch: Shane Larkin

Shane Larkin
Shane Larkin (AP)

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Shane Larkin

Shane Larkin
Shane Larkin (AP)

School: University of Miami
Class: Sophomore
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 171 lbs
Wingspan: 5’10.75″

Stats (2012-2013 NCAA season): 36.4 MPG, 14.5 PPG, 4.6 AST, 2.0 STL, 3.8 REB, 2.3 TOV, 47.9% FG, 40.6% 3PT, 77.7% FT

Why should the Nets draft Shane Larkin? If the Nets fear that they cannot replace C.J. Watson. Watson — the Nets’ best three-point shooter last season — has a player option that he is expected to decline, and if he does not re-sign with Brooklyn, his three-point prowess could certainly be missed. With Larkin’s much improved long-range shooting skills this past season, he could space the floor as well as distribute. Even though Tyshawn Taylor will be with the team next season, his shooting skills are nowhere near Larkin’s level.

According to Synergy Sports, Larkin was also one of the top pick-and-roll point guards in the nation last season. His 514 pick-and-roll possessions ranked 2nd in the country, and his 1.004 PPP in the pick and roll was also among the nation’s leaders. With Jason Kidd seemingly trying to implement a more up-tempo offensive style that will put a premium on passers and shooters, Larkin could be someone who can fit nicely with the Nets second unit.

Why shouldn’t the Nets draft Shane Larkin? Firstly, his size. According to DraftExpress, Larkin’s 5’10.75″ wingspan and 7’5.5″ standing reach rank as the smallest of any point guard to ever get drafted in their extensive measurement database. To compare, even the 5’7″ Chicago Bulls guard Nate Robinson has a 6’1″ wingspan and 7’7″ standing reach. There are major concerns that Larkin’s diminutive stature and measurements will cause issues on the defensive end when matched up with bigger and stronger NBA point guards.

Though Larkin put together a phenomenal season, leading Miami to a 2-seed in the NCAA tournament, his tournament performance was not so stellar. In three tournament games, Larkin shot just 11-28 (39.3%) from the field.

Another reason why the Nets should not draft Larkin is because of positional surplus. What is positional surplus? It’s a term that I just created, so you’ve likely never heard it before. The backup point guard role is one that has tons of suitors — most of them who can be had for the minimum salary. Example: C.J. Watson last year. Why spend a draft pick on be a career backup (if he plays behind Deron Williams) competing for the role when there are tons of other, more experienced players who can do the same job?

Not to mention the fact that the Nets already have a developing young player in Tyshawn Taylor, who may be ready to take on the full-time backup point guard role.

Have the Nets worked him out or do they plan to? There is no indication that the Nets have worked out Larkin or plan to, though workouts pop up in an instant.

Will Shane Larkin be available at pick #22? Unlikely. Mock drafts are only a sliver into what certain folks think about the draft, so take them with a grain of salt, but the aggregate of knowledge would indicate that he’ll be gone. Both Sporting News and ESPN (Insider) have Larkin going to the Milwaukee Bucks with the 15th pick in the draft, while both and DraftExpress’s mock draft have Larkin going to the Utah Jazz with the 14th pick.

Two members of the HOOPSWORLD crew do think Larkin will be available at 22, but neither have the Nets taking him.

If necessary, should the Nets move up to acquire Shane Larkin? No. In such a weak draft, you don’t move up unless there is player that you believe is “bust-proof.” Larkin, is not bust-proof. His lack of size could make him a liability on defense. It also wouldn’t be smart to give up assets in order to take a player who’s role can be filled elsewhere (free agency).

Final verdict:

Even if Shane Larkin falls to number 22 in the draft, I think the Nets should pass over him. Though Larkin may have some potential as a passer and a shooter, he is not someone the Nets should be interested in. We saw in the playoffs last season how important it was for a veteran like C.J. Watson to be able to stabilize the Nets’ second unit. Could a rookie point guard lead a group of veterans? Very unlikely. If I were running the Nets’ draft, a backup point guard would be the last position I would be looking to fill with my selection.