SB Nation is posting scouting reports of each prospect in the 2013 NBA Draft. Learn more about Miami point guard Shane Larkin.
NAME: Shane Larkin.
AGE ON DRAFT NIGHT: 20 years, eight months.
POSITION: Point guard.
MEASUREMENTS: 5'11, 171 pounds, 5'10.75 wingspan, 7'5.5 standing reach.
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RELEVANT ADVANCED STATS: 3.4% steal percentage. Impressive for a guy his size.
SB NATION BIG BOARD POSITION: No. 30.
NBA CEILING: Isaiah Thomas (the Kings' version).
NBA FLOOR: D.J. Augustin.
JONATHAN TJARKS' ANALYSIS
Shane Larkin emerged on the national scene this season, leading Miami to the highest ranking in school history. After averaging 14 points, 4.5 assists and four rebounds on 47 percent shooting, he jumped while the iron was hot as a sophomore.
At 5'11 and 170 with a 5'11 wingspan, Larkin will be one of the smallest players in the NBA. The only way a guy with that size can make the league is if he has essentially no holes in his game. He is a high-level shooter and ball-handler who ran a ton of pick-and-roll for Miami. He will be a good offensive player, although bigger and longer defenders will take a toll on his efficiency numbers. The questions for Larkin come on defense. Nearly every guard he faces will be able to shoot over the top of his head. As a result, he may be better as a situational player coming off the bench.
The D.J. Augustin comp sticks with me when I think of Larkin. Don't let Augustin's NBA career fool you. He was a first-team All-American at Texas who had better stats than Larkin on an even better team. At their sizes, it's just hard to be a consistent player in the NBA. That may be Larkin's downfall at the next level.
DRAFT EXPRESS SCOUTING REPORT
OTHER SB NATION SCOUTING REPORTS
With the rule changes that have been put in place over the last half-decade or so, quick guards who excel in pick-and-rolls in college stand a very good chance of doing the same in the NBA. Larkin is just such a player. He's extremely quick with the ball in his hands and has flashed the ability to both get in the lane and make long jumpers on pick-and-roll plays. His active on-ball defense should also translate well at the next level.
"Everybody says being a small point guard in the NBA, you're at a disadvantage," said Larkin at last week's draft combine in Chicago. "If you look at guys like Chris Paul, Ty Lawson, there are a lot of guys that are undersized and they're still killing it. They just have to find ways to use their size to their advantage. Bigger guys have just as tough a time guarding smaller guys, just like smaller guys have a tough time guarding bigger guys. I just have to find ways to use my height to my advantage."
First and foremost, I think Larkin has a long NBA career ahead of him.
Shane's athleticism is off the charts. I believe his vertical was something like 44 inches last year, and he was easily one of the fastest point guards in the nation last year. His handle and shooting are exceptional. FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton pointed out he also has the "it" factor you look for in a clutch performer. He also has a great feel for running the pick and roll and making good decisions in a high screen offense.
That being said, he struggled a little bit when he became the focal point of Miami's offense and faced more double teams toward the end of the season. At 5'10, he also does not have the ideal size many NBA coaches covet.
Larkin is listed at 5'11" and that measure may be a bit optimistic. This may really limit his potential defensively and as a consequence his ability to ever hold a starting role. One thing I noticed poking around with counterpart and Synergy data is that shooters tend to improve dramatically when they are matched up against shorter players (I doubt anyone is surprised by this). However, this is not necessarily a deal-breaker for point guards because the effect is much stronger when the opposing shooter is playing off-ball. Stunted players need to occupy a very small halo in order to keep spot-up shooters honest, but thanks to their advantage in quickness they can stay inside a ball-handler and keep him from pulling up. We see [J.J.] Barea do this incessantly to great effect. Ultimately I do think that Larkin's size is a problem, but I caution against over-emphasizing it.
Shane Larkin could be a good pro. He certainly made a tremendous impact in the NCAA last year. Unfortunately, concerns about his size will continue to follow him as he moves to the greatest basketball league in the world. D.J. Augustin had a similar profile coming out of Texas in 2008, and he is a bottom-tier reserve guard just five years removed from being selected in the lottery. Nevertheless, there is reason to be optimistic about Larkin. Larkin is a better athlete and was much more efficient from 2PT range than Augustin. Still, it will take plenty of hard work for Larkin to make a big impact for a good NBA team.