Shane Larkin has a target date for his NBA debut — maybe

Shane Larkin will be heading home this weekend. Home to Miami, where he went to college. And home to Orlando, where he grew up.

What the Dallas Mavericks’ rookie point guard won’t be doing is suiting up for the Mavericks. But that day is not far off, he said Wednesday.

Fate – in the form of a broken ankle – has delayed the start to his NBA career. But Larkin has a game plan now for getting it under way. Asked if he had a target date yet for his first game, Larkin said: “Um, my target and their (the Mavericks&rsquoWinking target are probably different. We got a couple practices next week. I would like to play the 20th against Houston. That’s when I’d like to play.”

Whether it’s then or Nov. 22 against Utah or sometime thereafter, it’s coming soon. And though Larkin has only gone through a couple of full practice sessions since getting clearance to do as much as he can handle on his surgically repaired right ankle, he’s already done enough to catch at least one person’s eye.

Dirk Nowitzki said he can already see signs of why the Mavericks acquired Larkin, who was the 18th overall pick in the June draft.\

“It (our depth) is only going to get better when we get Shane back,” Nowitzki said. “His speed is fun to watch in practice. He’s so quick off the dribble, pushing the ball. I think he’s going to help us tremendously in the backcourt.”

Larkin figures to ease the burden on rookie Gal Mekel, who along with Wayne Ellington are the only healthy backup options in the backcourt right now. Any injury would leave the Mavericks in a bind.

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