Shane Larkin selected No. 18 by Mavericks in NBA draft

The Mavericks traded with the Hawks and selected Shane Larkin with the No. 18 pick in the NBA draft on Thursday. Here’s a look at Larkin and how he fits with Dallas:

Bio: Miami | Sophomore | Point Guard

Vitals: 6-0, 171 pounds

2012-13 Statistics: 14.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2 steals, 47.9 percent shooting in 36 games.

Strengths: Larkin can do it all on offense. He’s a superb athlete who can shoot from deep, handle in the pick-and-roll and make the passes needed of a point guard. One of the youngest players on an experienced Hurricanes squad last season, Larkin played like a veteran, reading defenses and avoiding costly turnovers. On defense, Larkin uses his quickness to force steals and bad shots.

Weaknesses: A lack of size will hurt Larkin at the next level. He struggled to finish inside in college and will encounter even bigger and stronger defenders in the NBA. Defensively, he’ll enter every matchup at a disadvantage because of both his size and lack of bulk. Can he use his athleticism to overcome that? The question remains.

What Scouts Say: “Stud athlete, stud kid. His size is never going to change, so the question is whether your coach can live with that. He had a 44-inch vertical at the combine. He’s gonna be pretty damn good, man. If you have talented pieces around him, he’s going to be really good because he likes to get others involved. He’s an off-the-charts kid. He is truly about the team.”

Team Fit: By working through two separate transactions involving Boston and Atlanta, Dallas did nicely for itself by parlaying the No. 13 overall pick into Larkin, the No. 44 overall pick and two future second-round picks while shedding the salary of seldom-used guard Jared Cunningham. Larkin is definitively a better prospect than Cunningham, and has nice potential as a waterbug ball handler who makes nice reads out of the pick-and-roll.

It’s impossible to broach Larkin’s game without mentioning his size, but the Mavs and head coach Rick Carlisle have experience utilizing the offensive skills of undersized guards by working them off of Dirk Nowitzki. Dallas’ centerpiece draws so much attention and creates so much space with his shooting that Larkin should be able to dart into the paint consistently, and in the process have a bit more space to finish or create than he might have had otherwise. A good find for Dallas and a great fit for Larkin.

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