"He has phenomenal bloodlines," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "He's one of the best guys we've seen coming out of college shooting off the dribble. It's a bit of a lost art."
The 5-foot-11 Larkin has drawn comparisons to diminutive former Dallas guard J.J. Barea, who was a backup for the Mavericks, but became a starter for the last three games of the NBA Finals in 2011 — three straight Dallas wins that clinched the title over Miami.
Barea was one of several key players who didn't return after the championship season and ended up in Minnesota. The Mavericks have been looking for an effective pick-and-roll offense ever since.
"Shane is one of the best in college basketball at doing that," Carlisle said. "What we've seen is that he does a good job of reading situations, and he's been a winner. It makes a lot of sense for us."
For now, Larkin's goals are a lot simpler than pairing with Dirk Nowitzki — and maybe even Howard — as a pick-and-roll tandem that can get the Mavericks back in the playoffs after a 12-year postseason streak ended just two years removed from Dallas winning it all.
"I've just got to get playing time," he said. "I've got to go in there in training camp, summer league, at the beginning of the season, and prove my worth."
He hopes he's proving it to the Mavericks — and Howard.
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