Milwaukee Bucks: 5 guards to target in free agency

PORTLAND, OREGON - MAY 18: (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OREGON - MAY 18: (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /
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ISTANBUL, TURKEY – JUNE 21: (Photo by Isa Terli/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY – JUNE 21: (Photo by Isa Terli/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) /

Shane Larkin

For many Bucks fans, mention of Shane Larkin likely sends the mind back to the 2013 NBA Draft. At the time, Larkin was frequently linked to the Bucks and was the preference of many fans. In the end, Milwaukee decided to go a different way and drafted an unknown and incredibly raw prospect from Greece who, on Monday, was crowned NBA MVP.

That was a good decision.

Larkin’s career has had more than its fair share of ups and downs since that point, taking in stops with four different NBA teams, a spell in the G League, and seasons playing in both Spain and Turkey.

That may well read like a typical journeyman’s career path, but there’s plenty of reason for Larkin to take pride in the path he’s taken so far. Still only 26, Larkin has frequently bet on himself, stuck to his convictions, and often been rewarded. If he decides to return to the NBA this summer, he may well have a chance to stick around on more of a permanent basis.

With his place in the league very much in jeopardy at the end of the 2015-16 season, Larkin took the plunge and signed with Baskonia in Spain. A strong season in a major role with a top tier Liga ACB team led to his return to the NBA, where he put in a solid season on a Boston Celtics team that made the Eastern Conference Finals.

Eager for more playing time, Larkin opted to return to Europe again for last season, and enjoyed the best season of his career as he helped to lead Anadolu Efes all the way to the final of the EuroLeague Final Four, while also winning the Turkish League and claiming Finals MVP honors in that competition.

Playing almost 24 minutes per game on one of the very best teams outside of the NBA, Larkin averaged 13.5 points, 3.7 assists and 2.4 rebounds across 60 games in all competitions. It’s his career-best 41.1 percent on 4.7 three-point attempts per game that’s most likely to catch the eye of NBA teams, though.

Larkin’s size (5’11”) is undoubtedly problematic in an NBA context, but he’s demonstrated himself to be intelligent and game in the face of a variety of different challenges up to this point.

Maybe he’d prefer to stay in Europe barring an opportunity for major minutes in the NBA, but placing a call in to Larkin could certainly prove to be a worthwhile exercise at the very least.