As I mentioned yesterday in my profile on German point guard Dennis Schröder, there is a possibility that the Celtics would consider drafting a point guard with the 16th pick in June’s NBA Draft. It remains unclear if they would do so even if they chose not to shop Rajon Rondo this offseason, as they are in need of reliable backup point guard even with Rondo on the roster. Should the Celtics use the Draft to fill this need, one of the prospects who they will most seriously consider is University of Miami point guard Shane Larkin.
Larkin was one of the biggest winners at the NBA’s Draft Combine earlier this month. This was largely due to his outstanding athletic testing numbers. Larkin’s 44” max vertical leap was the highest of this year’s prospects and the second highest mark in the history of the Combine. Larkin was also the fastest player at the combine, running the three-quarter court sprint in a faster time than current NBA stars Darren Collison, John Wall, and Ty Lawson. Larkin’s scores boosted his draft stock significantly, as many scouts are concerned about his size (5’10”, 175 pounds). With his speed and leaping ability, there’s a good chance that he will be able to overcome his physical deficiencies.
Larkin’s greatest basketball skill is his shooting, something the Celtics desperately need. Last season at Miami, Larkin shot roughly 48% from the field, a little over 40% from three-point range, and about 78% from the foul line. Larkin has superb form on his jumper to go along with excellent range. Additionally, Larkin is a strong finisher around the basket. While his size will likely make scoring more difficult at the next level, his sweet stroke will likely help whatever team he joins next season.
While shooting may be Larkin’s greatest basketball skill, his intangibles are what make him such a strong point guard prospect. Larkin is, quite simply, a winner. He’s a tough, hard-nosed player who will do whatever his team needs to win. He makes a point to get his teammates involved and has great court vision. He also rebounds surprising well for a point guard, especially considering his size. He’s a fearless competitor and a great team leader.
Larkin also has a professional sports pedigree, as his father Barry was a Hall of Fame shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds. He knows what it takes to be a professional athlete and how to carry himself on and off the floor. Larkin’s athleticism and shooting would certainly be welcome additions to Boston, but his intangibles are what would allow him to truly fit in as a Celtic.
To see Larkin for yourself, check out this video.