When the Nets signed Shane Larkin he was on a mission. He was on a mission to prove the Knicks wrong for declining their team option on him and he has played throughout this season with a chip on his shoulder. Larkin described his own season best when asked about it.
Nets guard Shane Larkin, when asked to characterize his season: "A very exciting roller coaster ride."— Andy Vasquez (@andy_vasquez) March 23, 2016
... Meaning Larkin has been inconsistent throughout the season. He's had stretches where he's played really solid basketball, then times where he's played sloppy and turned the ball over far too much. And it should be noted that Larkin, 23, is in his third NBA season and playing for his third different team.
On the season as a whole, Larkin is averaging 7.1 points and 4.2 assists in 21.8 minutes per game. He's started in 11 games and in those 11 starts he's averaged 9.5 points, 5.1 assists and 1.7 steals per game. Those are the best numbers of his young career, but is it enough to convince the Nets that he's a legitimate part of their future?
After this season, Larkin has a player option that he may not accept. WIth the TV rights-infused cap, even he's likely to get a better deal than a $1.5 million expiring deal. Just for the sake of security, he's likely to look around for a better, longer deal But if decides to stay or offers himself to the Nets on a longer contract, what role would he play in Brooklyn next season? At this point, Larkin is no more than a backup point guard which every team needs, but has he proven that he can be a reliable option coming off Brooklyn's bench?
These are all questions that Sean Marks and company will need to answer. Fans won't like to hear this, but Brooklyn most likely isn't going to sign any big named free agents this offseason. Marks has stated that he wants to develop a culture in Brooklyn, that's a task that will take time and patience.
If Larkin wants to be apart of the future he will need to work on being more consistent. Larkin has had success this season when he's attacked the basket. From less than 5 feet from the basket, Larkin is shooting 60 percent on 159 field goal attempts this year. Those are shots that Larkin mainly creates for himself by attacking the defense off the dribble.
Larkin has attempted 78 percent of his shots from two-point territory and 22 percent from three-point range. After a hot start to the season shooting the three-ball, Larkin has cooled off dramatically. Larkin is shooting 35 percent from three-point range on the season.
Larkin needs to improve his jump shot and his decision making. On 172 jump shots that Larkin attempted this season, he's only made 50 of them which equates to a percentage of 29.1 percent.
As for his decision making, Larkin is averaging 3 turnovers per game per 36 minutes and at times he has lapses where he makes bad decisions.
Larkin has shown flashes that displays the amount of potential he has. When he's playing at his best, he has the ability to command an offense, distribute the ball, blow by his defender and cause havoc in the paint, like he did a month ago...
In this game Larkin showed off most of his repertoire. He made smart decisions and when he's doing that he is a very effective player.
These last 10 games of the regular season are going to be used to evaluate the young players of the Nets. Tony Brown said it best after Brooklyn's loss to Orlando last week, these players are playing for "job security" so every minute is important for Larkin these remaining ten games.
After losing the starting job to the 28-year-old Donald Sloan for an extended period of time, Larkin is back as the starter and will most likely remain in that position for the remainder of the season. Larkin is getting every opportunity to prove to the Nets that he belongs on this team and deserves to get quality minutes in the future.
Is Larkin worth keeping? That's a question that Marks will need to answer eventually, but for now Larkin has a chance to prove himself for at least the remainder of this season. On this current Nets team nobody is safe.