Brad Stevens on Shane Larkin- he can have a real impact

ESPN's Zach Lowe says, "I've always had a soft spot for Shane Larkin's zig-zaggy roadrunner game." So have I, but where does he fit? That was my first question when the Boston Celtics acquired Larkin earlier this year. My first step involved verifying his actual height. I always go to DraftExpress for these numbers, and I was surprised to find him listed at 5'11.5" in shoes. Okay, close to six feet. His 5'10.75" wingspan and 7'5.5" standing reach, however, are both very low by NBA standards. But he is rated as a "superb overall athlete" by DraftExpress. Brad Stevens' analysis of Shane's fit with the Celts says a lot in few words. Here it is via MassLive's Jay King:

I was talking to (one of the other coaches) today about, he really floats. Like, he is an athlete. When he's moving he can push tempo, but he can also change gears. He's got a pace to him that he understands the other four guys he's playing with. I'm a big fan of Shane Larkin. I think he'll be really impactful for us. And we'll play, you know, the league has not only gone smaller at the big spots, the league will go smaller at the guard spots. So I could see him playing minutes with Terry (Rozier) or playing minutes with Kyrie (Irving) even though that's a small 1-2.

Let's break this down. Brad's prediction of the league going smaller at the guard spot is intriguing. The Irving/Larkin and Rozier/Larkin backcourt combos may be small but both are slightly bigger than last season's Isaiah Thomas/Avery Bradley duo. And Stevens' references to Larkin pushing tempo, changing gears, playing at a pace that he understands the other four guys and potentially being really impactful are extremely encouraging. Almost sounds like Isaiah Thomas. Let's look at the comments of Derek Bodner and Mike Schmitz of DraftExpress prior to the 2013 NBA draft:

proficiency off the pick and roll doesn't just end with shooting, however. Larkin is incredibly quick and shifty with the ball in his hands, maintaining a low dribble that he has complete control over at all times. The combination of being a lethal shooter, having terrific quickness, possessing the ability to change direction sharply on the fly and his excellent ability to change speeds makes him a very tough cover on the perimeter, especially in pick and roll situations, where he has an ability to get into the paint with relative ease

Also from DraftExpress, Matt Kamalsky's analysis on Shane:

While scouts will scrutinize his size, his efficiency as a scorer and prolific shot creating ability seem tailor made for the NBA game.

In the video below, Larkin's athleticism is on full display. And he is exciting to watch. He can play in this league, and he can have a significant impact. Watch for what Lowe describes as Shane's zig-zaggy roadrunner game:

I am confident that Shane Larkin has not come close to reaching his full potential. I always add the Brad Factor to any new Celtics recruit. Stevens just makes any player better. I am certainly not stating that Shane is the next coming of Isaiah Thomas, but Isaiah used his lack of size and quickness to his advantage on offense. On a different scale, Shane can do the same. And he has a few more inches on Isaiah on the defensive end. Looks like a great acquisition.

Photo credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America
Video via SEBHL