Role for Mavs in 2013-14: Larkin will compete with fellow rookie Gal Mekel for minutes as the Mavs’ third point guard. Mekel has a head start since Larkin has yet to be cleared to practice with the team.
It’s possible that Larkin could spend much of his time playing for the Texas Legends, the Mavs’ D-League affiliate. The Dallas brass must determine whether Larkin would benefit more from starting in the D-League or getting limited minutes in the NBA. He can make that an easy decision by proving he’s ready to make a significant contribution as a rookie.
What happened this summer?: After twice trading down, the Mavs selected Larkin with the 18th overall pick in the draft. Larkin suffered a broken ankle in the Mavs summer league team’s final practice before leaving for Las Vegas, an injury that required surgery to repair. The Mavs hope he will be fully cleared by the beginning of the regular season, but there’s no doubt that the injury has delayed his development.
What does the future hold?: Coach Rick Carlisle has compared Larkin to J.J. Barea, the pick-and-roll-running sparkplug who played a critical role as a part-time starter on the Mavs’ 2011 title team. Larkin, who has elite speed, quickness and leaping ability, aims a little higher. He compares himself to Denver’s Ty Lawson, another sub-6-foot point guard who was an ACC player of the year. Lawson has established himself as one of the West’s best point guards, and Larkin believes he has that type of potential. He’s under contract with the Mavs for four seasons, the last two of which are team options.
Bottom line: Larkin will get his chance to prove he can play a key role, but the rookie might have to be patient.