“Going into the draft last year, I had a lot of steam coming off the ACC tournament. I was playing really well. I was really confident in myself,” the former University of Miami standout said on Friday.
But Larkin was derailed by an ankle injury in the Mavs’ final practice before the start of the NBA Summer League. The first-round pick would miss nearly five months due to the injury, losing out on valuable time rookies need to get acclimated to the NBA game.
“It kind of just put me behind the eight ball where my first game in the NBA, I was just kind of thrown in there,” Larkin said on Friday.
The 5-foot-11 guard averaged 2.8 points and handed out 1.5 assists in 10 minutes per game in a disappointing first season with the Mavericks.
Now, he’s looking forward to making a new name for himself with the Knicks.
“New York is going to offer me a new opportunity to go in there and create a different first impression. Go in there and play the same game I did in college, and I’m grateful for this opportunity,” Larkin said on a conference call with New York reporters Friday.
There were rumors the Knicks would try to move Larkin in a trade to acquire a first-round pick in Thursday’s draft. But a deal never materialized. So Larkin is now focused on making his mark in Phil Jackson’s triangle offense.
“I think I can bring a lot to the triangle offense,” Larkin said. “I know Derek Fisher is the coach. He wasn’t particularly the tallest guard and what he did with the triangle offense, he succeeded and he had a great career. I’m looking forward to going in there and learning. ... I’m a high character guy, a team guy first. Just really want to win, will do whatever it takes to win.”
Larkin is among nine guards on the Knicks roster. Jackson hinted on Thursday that more trades may be coming soon, and the expectation is that one or more of the guards will be dealt. But Larkin hopes to make his mark in New York as a backup to Jose Calderon.
“I’m just looking forward to speaking to coaches, seeing what they want from me,” he said.
Larkin is the son of MLB Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin. The same Barry Larkin who famously declined a trade from the Reds to the Mets back in 2000. The Mets were trying to acquire Larkin for a playoff push, but did not want to offer him a contract extension.
“I was actually talking to him about that the other day,” Shane said Friday. “I remember being at the press conference when he was struck in a bind, not knowing if he was going to be in Cincinnati or New York. I’ve always liked New York. I was just joking with him the other day that one of us finally has the opportunity to play in New York, knowing that it’s such a great sports city. I’m glad I’m the one that actually gets to play there.”
New York Knicks
Dalembert hopes to improve Knicks' 'D': Samuel Dalembert hopes to do the dirty work for the Knicks on defense this coming season. New York received Dalembert from Dallas in the Chandler-Felton deal earlier this week.
Dalembert averaged 6.6 points -- on a career-best 56.8 percent shooting -- 6.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks over 20.2 minutes in 80 games (68 starts) with Dallas last season. He hopes to help the Knicks improve on an interior D that ranked 23rd in defensive efficiency last year.
“I’ve always been a defensive guy, always able to [play] defense. That shouldn’t be a problem, coming here and fulfilling that role,” Dalembert said.
Of Carmelo Anthony, Dalembert said: “He can take care of the offense, I’ll take care of the defense.”
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