DALLAS — Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle is not one to mince words. So, when asked to sum up his thoughts on the Mavs taking former University of Miami point guard Shane Larkin with the 18th pick in Thursday’s 2013 NBA Draft, the Dallas head coach couldn’t hide his enthusiasm about working with the newest Maverick.
“Winning player, guy who when he transferred became eligible in Miami, took them from being an OK team to becoming the ACC champions this year, which is a big deal,” Carlisle said. “So, this league now is a lot about playmakers and being able to make plays, being able to do things off the dribble, being able to score, get other guys involved, have a feel for the game, speed is important. And he brings some of those dynamics and some of those characteristics. We think he’s going to help us.”
Larkin is of course the son of former Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin who as a senior helped lead Miami to the ACC regular-season and tournament titles and was also named ACC Player of the Year as a sophomore, when he averaged 14.5 points, 4.6 assists and two steals in 36 games.
Carlisle is of course more than well aware of Larkin’s impressive family bloodline. “Well, let’s face it he has phenomenal bloodlines. His dad’s one of the all-time great Major League players in history, Barry Larkin, and a Hall of Famer,” he said. “Shane would have been a great baseball player had he opted to go that way. I think that’s obvious. He selected to go with basketball, which is interesting and he’s excelled with it.”
Dallas acquired the rights to Larkin from Atlanta in exchange for 2012 first-round pick Jared Cunningham and the draft rights to 44th pick Mike Muscala as well as the draft rights to Brazilian big man Lucas Nogueira, who went 16th overall.
Point guard is a big position of need for the Mavericks and the man who helped lead Dallas to the 2011 NBA championship definitely sees Larkin as an addition that can definitely help his team in fairly short order.
“Speed is so important in the game today. One of the things that’s really unique about him is that from an analytics standpoint, he’s one of the best guys we’ve seen out of college shooting off the dribble,” Carlisle said. “It’s a bit of a lost art. He’s one of the best in the game coming out of college this year and he can also get places and get other guys involved. He’s good and is going to get better.”
Carlisle added: “I just think he’s the kind of guy that fits into today’s game. I think he’s going to help other guys on our team become better players and I think he’s going to keep getting better too because he’s a worker.”
The Mavs head coach even compared Larkin to former Dallas point guard J.J. Barea, a solid role player who was a definite factor in the Mavs’ somewhat improbable run to the NBA title just two summers ago.
“I would say so, yes. I would think that he and Barea aren’t exact duplicates,” Carlisle said. “But we’ve missed the last couple years the element that Barea brought to the game-being able to get to the rim, being able to get it going from three, the resourcefulness and Shane’s going to bring some of those things. He’s not going to be identical to Barea. He’ll be better in some areas and in other areas he won’t be as good. But we like him and feel like he can compete for playing time right away.”