He hasn’t given up on this season and all the values of being a professional player it has taught him, but Dallas Mavericks point guard Shane Larkin can’t wait until next season.
Especially after the way things have gone for him this season.
A rookie from Miami, Larkin broke his right ankle in July in the last practice before the the Mavericks left town to play in the Las Vegas Summer League. The injury forced Larkin to not only miss the summer league, but training camp, the preseason and the first 10 games of the regular season.
He’s been playing catch-up ever since.
“Its been a roller-coaster ride from the beginning, missing training camp, missing preseason, not getting the reps, being thrown in, getting a lot of minutes early and then kind of hitting some sort of slump,” Larkin said. “And then getting my minutes taken, and then getting the minutes back and playing 15 minutes a game, and then Devin [Harris] coming back and playing with him and not playing with him, and down to the D-League.”
In order words, Larkin’s head has been on a swivel all season. But he hopes a summer league, a training camp and a preseason will enhance his chances of playing more next season.
“That’s going to be a big thing going into next year, trying to gain the confidence of Dirk [Nowitzki], Monta [Ellis], Vince [Carter], Jose [Calderon] and all those guys, just to prove that last year was an up and down season,” Larkin said. “I didn’t get to play with them in preseason, I didn’t really get chemistry with them.
“And going into next year, that’s going to be the biggest thing — more on the court time with them in practice. That’s something I’m looking forward to.”
Larkin saw meaningful action for the first time in months Tuesday when he played 16 minutes against the Golden State Warriors. He was 0-of-4 from the field and went scoreless, but he did contribute three steals and three assists.
“He was aggressive on defense,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s been awhile since he’s played some meaningful minutes when it’s really counted, so that’s getting his feet back in it.
“Look, this is part of the roller coaster of being a rookie in this league. You could be in it one night and out for three weeks — you got to just stay ready.”
Larkin recently played two games for the D-League’s Texas Legends, which gave him a chance to get some court time and work on his game.
“That was good for me to go down and get a rhythm,” said Larkin, who averages 2.9 points in 11.1 minutes per game. “You can see I’m becoming more and more comfortable down there.
“My last game I had my best stats down there, so I’m getting more comfortable playing with them, and it’s good just to go down there and get some rhythm, and get some playing time.”
Now, if only he can get that on the NBA level. He hopes a full complement of the summer league, training camp and preseason will do the trick.
“Summer league is big for rookies coming in,” Larkin said. “I’m definitely going to go out there this year and prove myself.
“One of the biggest thing is you’ll see a lot of intensity and lot different player than what I think I’ve shown this year.”
Jae Crowder’s abdominal strain has been downgraded to a mild abdominal strain.
Crowder has missed the past two games after suffering the injury Sunday against the Indiana Pacers. His status for Sunday’s game at Oklahoma City has not been determined.
“Mild sounds better than abdominal strain, so we’ll see,” Carlisle said. “He’s been a fast healer in the two years that we’ve had him, but Mother Nature can be [difficult] and a pain in the [backside].
“But I’m sure he’s doing everything possible to get it better. We’ve just got to make sure he don’t aggravate it.”