DALLAS — It’s reached the point where the family ties shouldn’t be used on the first reference. Seth Curry has earned the right to be recognized on his own.
Curry, 26, hasn’t just proven that he’s a legitimate rotation player with the Dallas Mavericks — the seventh team of his pro career, including a couple of D-League stops. He has established himself as an impact player.
Just look at the 21 games since Curry was inserted into the Mavs’ starting lineup at shooting guard. He has averaged 16.0 points in remarkably efficient fashion, shooting 51.4 percent from the floor and 47.2 percent from 3-point range. Dallas is 13-8 in that span after Curry scored a game-high 29 points in Monday’s 96-89 win over the hot Miami Heat, keeping the Mavs in the fight for the West’s final playoff spot, now only a couple of games behind the Denver Nuggets.
If the Mavs manage to pull off the improbable and punch a ticket for a first-round matchup with the Golden State Warriors, here’s guessing that Curry meeting his famous big brother in the playoffs will attract some media attention.
Some will always see Seth as Steph‘s little brother — and he grew up as Dell’s son — but he has made a name for himself with the Mavs.
“It’s tough to do. He’s a back-to-back MVP, a champion,” Curry said, referring to Steph’s historic success, never mind the All-Star’s 0-for-11 3-point outing Monday night in Philadelphia. “I understand the circumstances. I’m just going out there playing my game. I hope people watch me. If you watch me and understand my game, then you can have a good opinion about who I am.
“I don’t go out there on a nightly basis thinking I’ve got to play to step out of Steph’s shadow or get mad when people bring his name up when they talk about me. It is what it is. I’ve dealt with it my whole life with my father. I kind of embrace it.”
Seth Curry has certainly embraced the opportunity he has received this season with the Mavs, who got a heck of a bargain by signing him to a two-year, $5.9 million deal. He has already played more games for the Mavs (55) than he had in his NBA career before this season, which consisted of cups of coffee with the Memphis Grizzlies, Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns and a one-season stint as a fringe rotation player with the Sacramento Kings.
It’s not like this is the first time Curry has shown that he could produce given consistent run in the league. As Sacramento played out the string last season, he finally got a chance to play on a regular basis. His numbers in the last 11 games look a lot like his quarter-season sample size since becoming a Dallas starter: 15.2 points per game, 46.8 percent shooting from the floor, 48.4 percent from 3-point range.
The Kings, not exactly known for their personnel evaluation expertise, were so impressed by Curry’s finish that they made no attempt to keep him despite having the right to match any offer he received as a restricted free agent.
But don’t think for a second that Curry is surprised by his success in Dallas.
“He didn’t have a confidence problem when he got here,” coach Rick Carlisle said in a bit of an understatement, “and he still doesn’t.”
Curry did have a lot of question marks when he got to Dallas, at least externally. Folks figured he could shoot, considering his family ties and all. Could he do enough other things to merit minutes?
Could he defend? Could he make plays off the dribble? Curry’s improvement in those two facets of the game, by the way, were the first things Carlisle mentioned after the guard torched the Heat a couple of games after going for a career-high 31 points in Minnesota.
“I know who I am as a player. I know what I can do,” Curry said. “It’s just a matter of getting the opportunity and going out there and doing it. I’m going to play the same way I do every single night with the minutes I get and try to make the most of the opportunity.
“I feel like I’ve been efficient my entire career. It’s just I’m getting a lot of opportunity to impact the game on a lot of levels. I’m trying to make the most of it.”