• Greg Alcala

New Borough New Larkin


*Photo via Getty Images

Shane Larkin has moved on from the New York Knicks, but he’ll be right next door. On July 9th, Larkin decided to continue his pro career with the Brooklyn Nets, agreeing to a 2-year, $3 million deal. The move will give Larkin another chance at a fresh start.

With the Dallas Mavericks, the former Miami Hurricane and son of Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, Barry Larkin, did not see the floor with enough regularity to establish himself; averaging 2.8 points, and 1.5 assists in 10 minutes of play. – Not exactly Rookie of the Year numbers. After just one season in Dallas, Larkin was included in a package to New York featuring Samuel Dalembert, Wayne Ellington, José Calderón, and a pair of 2014 second-round picks in exchange for Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler, but it didn’t work with the Knicks either.

Playing in the Mecca of basketball, Larkin failed to have a signature game or moment and was contaminated by the horrendous 17-65 product that became the Knicks. He failed to find success in the triangle offense implemented by President Phil Jackson and head coach Derek Fisher; a system which didn’t fit his skillset. Fortunately for Larkin, Nets GM, Billy King noticed and reached out to the young point guard.

“We just said we want to get back to how you played in Miami,” King said according to ESPN.com. “Allowing you to be a leader on the floor, run the pick-and-roll, and get up and down the court. That was the pitch to him.”

*Photo via Getty Images

Instead of having to fit in a system, Larkin will be able to come in right away and play his game from the start and it seems like that’s all he ever wanted. “I talked to Billy and Lionel (Hollins) as soon as free agency started, and they told me they wanted me to come in and just play my game,” Larkin said according to ESPN. “I’m more of a pick-and-roll guy, up and down. “And that’s the thing they told me they wanted me to come in and do. For them to tell me they wanted me to come in push the tempo, bring some energy to the team that was everything I wanted to hear.”

Playing in a pick-and-roll offense is the reason why Larkin found success with the Canes, which led to being selected in the first-round in 2013. With the Nets, Larkin has a chance to revive his career even if he doesn’t start. Despite the open competition at the point, head coach Lionel Hollins plans to conduct in training camp; Jarrett Jack is the most likely candidate to start. Donald Sloan and rookie, Ryan Boatright will also be vying for minutes, so there is a clear opportunity for Larkin to seize the backup duties.

Although Deron left Brooklyn for his hometown of Dallas this past summer, the 5-time All-Star found success in pick-and-roll situations with Brook Lopez during his Nets stint. With Brook’s ability to pick-and-pop as well as roll, Williams was able to rack up multiple double-digit assists performances; and Larkin could be in for the same treat.

*Photo via Getty Images

Other than feeding the beast in Brook for easy layups and plays around the rim, Larkin can be a terror for opposing defenses in the pick-and-roll as a scorer. At Miami, Larkin used screens to perfection, waiting for opportunities to materialize and used his blinding speed to make plays at the rim. Larkin also has the ability to shoot; 53 percent on all 2-point field goals at Miami and 43 percent from the field with New York.

For the first time in his career, Larkin will be playing free. And if playing in the same state as his former employer isn’t enough motivation to prove them wrong, Jackson’s recent comments added fuel to the fire. In the ESPN Phil Files written by Charley Rosen, Jackson stated that Larkin can’t control the ball because he has tiny hands. And Larkin responded at Nets Media day on Monday saying: “I was going to palm a ball and put it on Instagram for him, but I feel like that wasn’t the best move.”

Sounds like Larkin’s interested in responding to Phil’s comments on the court rather than in a verbal back-and-forth.

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