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Name: Shane Larkin
Position: Point guard
Stats: 6’0″, 170 lbs.
The son of Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin, Shane originally committed to DePaul but transferred to Miami just before the start of his freshman year. By the end of his freshman season, he had earned the starting point guard spot. This year, as a sophomore, he led the Hurricanes with his 14.5 points, 4.6 assists and 2 steals per game, and shot 40.6% from three-point range. He was a second-team All-American, first-team All-ACC, and received the Lute Olson Award as the nation’s best non-freshman.
2012-13 is widely regarded as Miami’s most successful season ever. The ‘Canes finished the regular season 29-7 for their best record in history, won the ACC’s regular-season title as well as the conference tournament, and reached the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament for just the second time ever. Larkin is a terrific athlete, who led all attendees to the Draft Combine in both the three-quarter-court sprint and the vertical leap. With a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio last year, he’s also a decent ballhandler.
Outside of Michigan’s Trey Burke and Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams, who will almost certainly go in the top ten, this isn’t a great draft for point guards. This makes Larkin a top-five talent at his position in this draft. If Danny Ainge decides to draft a point guard instead of a big man, it’s likely that Larkin will be the best available by the time the Celtics are on the clock. If the Celtics are drafting for need, Larkin is a great fit since the team just needs somebody to back up Rajon Rondo, who averaged 37.4 minutes per game before his injury last season.
Larkin has the speed the Celtics want in their backup to avoid a noticeable change of pace when Rondo goes to the bench. At the end of the day, if they go for a point guard, they won’t be looking for someone to make an immediate impact, but rather a player who can hold Rondo’s place while he rests. Ainge would probably rather have Dennis Schröder if he can get him, but Larkin has the makings of a worthy NBA ballhandler.