Nets’ Larkin Looks to Prove Doubters Wrong


When the Nets signed point guard Shane Larkin to a two-year $3 million deal, pundits found the signing a questionable fit as the roster already contained Deron Williams, Jarrett Jack, and Steve Blake.  Now with Williams and Blake gone, Larkin slots in as the backup point guard to Jack and should get meaningful minutes in Brooklyn’s rotation.

Yet even with the situation changing for the young point guard, he’s still facing his fair share of criticism. It began with Knicks’ President Phil Jackson stating that Larkin couldn’t control the ball because of his “tiny hands.”  Jackson made it clear that he wanted to see Larkin push the ball up the floor more often rather than looking to “get his shot off a high-screen roll situation”, which would have allowed him to be more effective.   Although that may be true during his time with New York, Larkin clearly believes a lot of his ineffectiveness came from working in the triangle offense.  Larkin believes he’s “more of a pick-and-roll guy, up and down” and with Brooklyn reportedly wanting to push the tempo this year, he’s hoping he can maximize his opportunity.

With high expectations of himself despite his former employer’s criticism, he certainly wasn’t happy when ESPN recently released their bottom 100 of the top 400 NBA players.  The young point guard barely made the list, sitting at number 388, nearly 100 spot drop from his number 290 ranking from the previous year.  Larkin ranks behind Miami Heat guards Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson as well as Phoenix Suns Guards Ronnie Price and Sonny Weems, not exactly proven commodities.  He also ranks behind free agent Carlos Boozer who sits at number 381.

Because of that, Larkin has the opportunity to prove doubters wrong and far out-produce those listed ahead of him.  In response to his ranking, Larkin wasn’t shy about his disappointment.  Writer and founding editor of The Brooklyn Game tweeted out the rankings, saying he was “surprised how far Shane Larkin fell” and that he “could fit way better in a non-triangle system.” Larkin concurred with Kharpetian’s comment, stating simply “they’ll see lol”.

Despite the “lol” it’s questionable who will have the last laugh. A career 42 percent shooter and 30.5 percent shooter from beyond the arc, he’ll have to prove he can be an effective source of offense off the bench.  Likely playing on a second unit with players of limited offensive ability in Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Thomas Robinson, and Markel Brown, he’ll need to take on a good portion of the scoring load along with former Knick teammate Andrea Bargnani.

The good news for Larkin is that he’s still only 22, will be handed as much responsibility as he can handle, and has the faith of the head coach and general manager.  For Nets fans, the positive lies in Larkin’s ability to be a lead guard.  Despite a down season in New York, his 2.72 assist-to-turnover ratio would have been better than Jack’s and only slightly worse than Williams’s 2.91 ratio.  He also averaged 1.2 steals per game and improved his free throw shooting over 14 percent to 78.2 percent.

If Larkin can build upon those numbers and break double digits in scoring on 46 percent shooting, Brooklyn’s $3 million investment will have turned out as well as they could have hoped, and ESPN’s ranking would be in Larkin’s rearview mirror.

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