Shane Larkin is sparkin’ the Nets
The Nets came into the season with what was looked at as one of the worst point-guard rotations in the NBA. Actually, you could've made a legitimate argument it was the single worst. Worse than Utah's. Worse than Philadelphia's. Worse than everyone's.
Now, looking at the Nets point guards isn't quite as horrifying. No, Brooklyn doesn't own one of the league's better point guard tandems. It doesn't even own a duo you could say is above average, but at least the Nets have gotten some unexpected positives from Jarrett Jack and Shane Larkin, the latter of whom is having the best season of his young career.
After a 94-91 home win over the Suns on Tuesday, during which Larkin would put up 11 points, eight assists and five boards in 30 minutes, Brian Lewis of the New York Post wrote about the improved floor general:
Larkin has certainly been better than he ever has been before, even if his shooting numbers are particularly unsustainable. He's averaging 7.2 points and 3.1 assists in 17.9 minutes a night, but it appears that, of late, the playing time is increasing. His 52 percent three-point shooting is both a blessing and a curse. Obviously, that's an impressive number, but an efficiency so high means there is some inevitable regression in Larkin's future. The 23-year-old was just a 31 percent shooter from long range coming into this year.
Still, Larkin has earned more playing time from his actual play, and that's not something many Nets fans thought was likely coming into this season.
Phoenix plays small under most circumstances, and with former Knick Tyson Chandler missing a second straight game, the Nets knew what kind of lineup they would face. Lionel Hollins gave Larkin 30 minutes, 17 seconds of playing time, and the young guard repaid him with 11 points and a career-high eight assists.
“They played a lot of small-ball, so at shootaround we did a lot of small-ball lineup stuff and it worked out pretty good,’’ the former Knick said.
He had six points and an assist in the 12-2 fourth-quarter run that turned a five-point deficit into a five-point lead with 2 ½ minutes left.
“Amazing,’’ gushed starting point guard Jarrett Jack. “He’s been doing that the past three or four games for us, coming in, being that sparkplug for us, setting the pace, setting the tempo, knocking down big shots. He’s been doing a tremendous job.’’