Shane Larkin has 26 games to prove Phil Jackson wrong

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Shane Larkin is back from strep throat and ready to show in the final 26 games he belongs on the Knicks next season.

Larkin, who is expected to start at point guard Friday on the road against the Pistons after missing the past three games, said he wants to remain a Knick, but also knows a lot of other NBA teams are watching him closely now.

In late October, Knicks president Phil Jackson decided against exercising the option on Larkin’s rookie deal because of the price tag of about $2 million. The former University of Miami stud, who was selected with the 18th pick by Dallas in 2013, will be an unrestricted free agent.

“Who doesn’t want to be on the New York Knicks playing in New York?’’ Larkin said. “That’s just Phil and them must decide at end of the year. My job is to go out there last 25 games play hard and show I deserve to be on this team.

“The league is watching at all times,’’ Larkin added. “If I go out there and play well the last 25 games, the Knicks could want me or someone else could want me. It’s not that I’m set on one team. They didn’t pick up my option. I can go wherever, but of course I want to stay in New York.’’

It’s unusual for a mid-first-rounder such as Larkin, who began the season as the starter because of Jose Calderon’s calf strain, to be playing for a contract late in his second season. But sources have indicated Jackson is concerned about Larkin’s height, ability to finish around the rim and on-ball defense. On the other hand, he has great speed, great hands and a knack for coming up with steals.

The Knicks’ decision to give combo guard Langston Galloway a $200,000 guarantee for next season if he’s at training camp could mean the Knicks are thinking Larkin is a goner.

Larkin has started 14 of the 50 games he’s played in, averaging 5.4 points on 41.4 percent shooting (34.2 percent on 3-pointers). He’s also averaging 2.5 assists and 1.0 turnovers.

“My season has been a roller-coaster ride,’’ Larkin said. “I started some and played big minutes, came off the bench, played minutes. I didn’t play at all some games. It’s been a roller-coaster ride.’’

Larkin’s father, baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, has attended the occasional game.

“I only kind of seen him in passing in the stands,’’ coach Derek Fisher said of the elder Larkin. “I have a tremendous amount of respect who he is and what he accomplished. Shane is an excellent young man beyond the basketball part. His parents should be proud. We’re hopeful he continues to improve and utilize this final stretch of season [to show] he wants to be here and deserves to be here.

“He’s continuing to evolve and mature as a pro,’’ Fisher added. “And what that means is not just on the court in the games but approach and mindset in practice. Those are things he’s learning, and it’s going to take time for a young player like that. He’s tried to maximize his opportunities. No way he could’ve expected coming into the season what’s going to happen. He knows there’s a lot more he can do.”

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