Report: Celtics "taking a long look" at Miami PG Shane Larkin
Tick tock, tick tock. The NBA draft is now 24 days away, and the Celtics continue to do their due diligence.
One thing we've heard repeatedly is that the C's will not draft based on roster need, but instead will take the best player available. Danny Ainge said as much in an interview with the Boston Herald last week.
But unlike some of his counterparts, Ainge won’t draft strictly for need. No matter how much his team could use a young big man with Adams’ athleticism, Ainge won’t move in his direction if a better player in another position is on the board.
“I don’t even look at my roster when we’re at the draft,” he said.
With that in mind the Celtics have been linked to a number of point guards, despite having All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo under contract for two more seasons. Late last week there was a report that the C's made a promise to German point guard Dennis Schroeder, and the team also brought in eight guards last weekend to work out. Now, one of those guards who visited is being discussed in more detail, from the Boston Globe's Gary Washburn.
Don’t be surprised if the Celtics nab a point guard with their first-round pick. They are taking a long look at Miami’s Shane Larkin, who is a master at running the pick-and-roll, as a potential backup to Rajon Rondo. Rondo has two years left on his contract and his condition and performance next season is uncertain coming off surgery to repair an anterior cruciate ligament. German point guard Dennis Schroeder is also a consideration. He has been compared favorably with a young Rondo . . .
Larkin (son of baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin) averaged 14.6 points, 4.6 assists, 3.8 boards and 2 steals per game for the Miami Hurricanes during his Sophomore campaign, and is currently projected as a mid to late first round pick. In his latest mock draftESPN's Chad Ford slotted him at #21 to the Utah Jazz, just five picks after the Celtics select.
Clearly Ainge and the Celtics are very serious about taking the best guy on the board, and not bowing to popular belief that their guard heavy roster needs to focus on a big man in the first round.
Larkin is lightning quick, and shot the ball very well last season (48% from the field, 41% from three). However, he is also very small by NBA standards (5'11", 176) and will face a size disadvantage, even at the point guard position, nearly every night in the NBA.
Perhaps most interestingly, if the C's draft Larkin, he has a long standing relationship with Doc Rivers thanks to his Orlando upbringing. From ESPN's Chris Forsberg.
As Orlando residents, Larkin has known Rivers for the better part of a decade, dating back to when he and Austin were teammates on a 9-year-old AAU All-Star team in the early 2000s. The pair soon became the Larry and Magic of local high school hoops, meeting in two state title clashes (Austin's Winter Park twice bested Larkin's Dr. Phillips). The two would even cross paths again in college -- both wearing No. 0 at that level -- in a Duke-Miami showdown two seasons ago.
Never hurts to know the coach, especially one with as much pull as Doc. With that said, if Ainge doesn't pay attention to his roster during the draft I highly doubt he pays attention to coach-player relationships.
Regardless of how much pull his history with Rivers has, Larkin is certainly on the Celtics radar as we start to count down the days until the draft. Armed with their highest draft pick since 2007, the C's are scouring this years draft class for talent, and Larkin seems to be right near the top of their list.