Shane Larkin, No. 14 (Mock Draft)
The Jazz adopt the motto #InShaneWeTrust.
by Christian Mordi / @mordi_thecomeup
Two years ago, the Jazz got swept in the first round against the Spurs, but showed great promise with their young nucleus in Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward alongside the steady post player Al Jefferson.
This year the Jazz bought in some veterans, attempting to add more leadership to the squad and help them close out close battles. This backfired on the Jazz for many reasons. For starters, coach Tyrone Corbin leaned too heavily on the veterans (Marvin Williams, Randy Foye, Mo Williams), who didn’t deliver victories and soaked up valuable minutes that the young players could have used on the floor. Also, Corbin switched up the lineup constantly, and the lineup changes left this team without any consistent feel all year. To add insult to injury, the Jazz dropped the ball at the deadline by not finding a suitor for neither Paul Millsap nor Al Jefferson, essentially opening the door to let them walk out with nothing in return. Instead of taking a step forward, they took a step backward.
Nonetheless, there is light at the end of the tunnel for Utah. Granted, they didn’t get anything in return for Millsap and Jefferson, but they are off the books. This provides nice cap room for this team to venture out and court (and possibly overpay due to location, but Utah isn’t afraid to do this to get their guy) players and fill roster needs. With Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors, the Jazz are set in the frontcourt for years to come.
With the 14th pick in the SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Utah Jazz select…
Shane Larkin from Miami.
In order for Utah to take steps in the right direction, Corbin will have to go with his young talent and let them go through these growing pains early. Corbin may not have much choice, as chances are Millsap and Jefferson are gone. With two young athletic bigs who will thrive in the open floor, you will need a floor general who will push the tempo and attack. They need a leader.
Larkin is the perfect fit for this team. Utah is in desperate need of a high-character guy, someone who will be vocal on the floor and aggressive in his playing style. Those are things you cant teach that Larkin possess. Larkin was a key player in the best Miami team in over a decade. In the ACC championship, he had 28 points in the victory. Larkin doesn’t shy away from the big moments.
The biggest issue and reason why Utah will find Larkin at 14 is his height. At 5-11 (6-0 on a good day), many scouts will immediately hold his size against him. Scouts put too much into what they predict a guy may be able to do as a result of physical attributes, rather than what they are currently doing. Most of the League’s best point guards are not tall at all, for example Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry, Ty Lawson, etc. Utah, a team built upon an old-school approach with the dynamic of how they pick players never let height clout their mind. They won’t overlook Larkin.
In regards to his skill set, Larkin’s game is great for the NBA and his physical attributes make him a steal at 14. While many will focus on his height at 5-11, Larkin is extremely athletic, killing the Draft Combine by posting a 44-inch vertical. Larkin is a blur in transition, and in the half court was virtually un-guardable off the pick and roll. (Watch highlight tape to catch a glimpse.)
The Miami Hurricane also shoots the ball well from deep. He shot over 40 percent from behind the arc this year, so when teams pack the paint, he can make you pay. Larkin scored 15 per game this year, but also dished out 5 assists, so he has very good balance in his game.
Larkin is also only a sophomore, and his learning curve is amazing. Most importantly, Larkin turned a program that was once a stomping ground for others in the ACC to a prestigious program in two years. Like Hayward from Butler, he is a winner. Young players who know how to win games are very valuable to a franchise on the rise. This pick is a no-brainer. #InShaneWeTrust
|2013 SLAMonline Mock Draft|