BOSTON -- Shane Larkin didn’t get a ton of playing time during his lone season as a Boston Celtic, but more times than not he made the most of those opportunities.
This past season — with a different team in a different country — was no different for the 5-foot-11 guard, who led Anadolu Efes of the Turkish Basketball Super League into the playoffs where he set postseason EuroLeague shooting and scoring records along the way.
It was the kind of performance that’s likely to at least turn a few heads in the NBA that maybe — just maybe — the former first-round pick deserves another shot at returning stateside and playing in the NBA.
With Anadolu Efes, the 26-year-old led them to the EuroLeague Final Four, highlighted by a 30-point, seven-rebound, seven-assist performance in defeating Fenerbahce (the former team of current Celtics Daniel Theis and Brad Wanamaker, with the latter replacing Larkin as the Celtics’ third point guard this past season) in the semi-finals.
Anadolu Efes wound up losing in the EuroLeague final to European powerhouse CSKA Moscow 91-83, but not before Larkin had tallied a Final Four-record 59 points (29 of which came in the loss to CSKA Moscow), which was part of his EuroLeague postseason-record 18 three-pointers.
And that was part of his play in setting another EuroLeague Final Four record with a Player Index Rating of 43. PIR is a common statistical measurement used in European basketball circles to track a player’s overall performance.
Larkin’s strong performances come at a time when the Celtics will surely be looking to add some backcourt depth to a roster that’s likely to look very different next season.
Adding someone familiar with the system is certainly among the considerations Boston will take into account when piecing together their roster going forward.
As mentioned earlier, with most of the Celtics’ point guards hitting free agency this summer, it’s highly unlikely all three will be back next season.
Boston could certainly benefit from a return to the lineup by the 5-foot-11 Larkin, who appeared in 54 games for the Celtics during the 2017-2018 and often provided a nice spark off the bench.
His departure to play overseas was due in part to having a limited role with the Celtics last season, a role that never expanded during the season despite solid play when he was on the floor.
And while one can certainly see the benefits for the Celtics if he were to return, it’s unclear if his role would be any different in a second tour of duty and because of that, there’s legit uncertainty as to whether Larkin would even entertain the idea of coming back.
Regardless of whether he stays overseas, returns to Boston or comes back to the NBA with another team, Larkin’s play this past season in Europe was yet another reminder of what he’s capable of doing when given a shot at having a meaningful role.
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