What’s Next for Seth Curry?
The concept of time is as cruel as it kind. Time heals all wounds, or so they say. Time also gives us false hope based on the expectations of variables changing in the process. In this case, the variable is Seth Curry’s injury; the false hope being Rick Carlisle’s “week-by-week” analysis. Every week Mavs’ fans would anxiously wait for that coveted push notification alerting them of Curry’s return.
Unfortunately, the fans got this “Woj bomb” from Adrian Wojnarowski:
This was the ultimate gut-wrenching report for a Mavs’ fan at that juncture of the season, as the backcourt consisting of Dennis Smith Jr and Seth Curry would not see the light of day. This was an injustice to the oddball lineups Carlisle is known for. Of course, the next retort from Mavs’ fans would be that “it wouldn’t work on the defensive end.” However, with Curry coming off a season in which he posted a team-high (excluding non-shooting bigs) 60 percent true shooting percentage, respectively speaking, giving it a trial run is the least Carlisle could have done.
Don’t fret just yet Mavs’ fans, there is a positive spin to an otherwise miserable situation, as Curry is a free agent this summer. With Curry’s free agency looming during an injury-ruined season, his price will probably be on the lower end compared to what it potentially would have been pre-injury. With that said, the NBA is infamously known for jaw-dropping raises in free agency. Nothing is guaranteed. If you want to look at it from the glass is half full perspective, Curry’s breakout season is partly due to Carlisle believing in the undrafted guard. That idea, and the projection reported by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst inferring the 2018 free agency market won’t be as heavy on the handle as past years, could give the Curry-Smith Jr backcourt at least a season together.
As long as you can shoot the ball you have a place in the league. This statement is true, no matter the number of eye rolls it induces. Similar to when parents give their child the same old “when I was your age” speech. Curry’s skillset will allow him to find plenty of work; with his fit in the system playing a role in the final decision. According to Cleaning the Glass, Curry’s 2016–2017 season on/off numbers lean in his favor, with efficiency differential (teams points scored per 100 possessions minus team points allowed per 100 possessions)being one of the more supportive stats. Using the calculation method given, Curry is an outstanding +5.7, which puts him in the 80th percentile. Efficiency differential projected Curry would give the Mavericks 14 wins if he consistently recorded +5.7 in an 82 game season.
Defense is never the first thing mentioned when discussing the Curry trio. However, Steph and Seth are not cut from the 2016 James Harden apathetic-stained defensive cloth. Even if Seth isn’t known for his defensive prowess, there are stats which negate the “only a shooter” label. Curry is not a complete liability when on defense. Whether he doesn’t make the right rotation, or allow his matchup to get the upper hand off the dribble, accumulating steals is his saving grace. Curry snagged the ball from the opposition a team-high 79 times. Per Basketball Reference, The Mavericks finished 15th in the league in defensive rating. Curry stood out on a team which touted Wesley Matthews as the team’s best perimeter defender. This is not to confuse Curry with a defensive genius, but rightfully putting lazy narratives to rest.
Playing advocate is a necessity in weighing options. It doesn’t always mean you agree with either side, but facts should outweigh emotions. As much as the idea of Seth Curry re-signing with the Mavericks brings joy to the innocent-filled children’s hearts in the city of Dallas, to completely ignore the various options Curry has in his disposal would be an irresponsible act from us adults. With that said, here are a few teams who come to mind if Curry and the Mavs’ front office fail on an agreement.
Speaking of guards possibly on the move, the Boston Celtics front office have their own problems. Marcus Smart is a restricted free agent this season. Typically, this bodes well for a team in the Celtics’ position, but after Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Celtics were shopping Smart, his return is uncertain. Of course, there are ways Curry could see himself on the team even if Smart stays with the team.
Unfortunately for Curry, the fact he missed a whole season will cause for quite the dip in his potential earnings; taking a hit in his pocket, but ironically giving him chance to play for a contender such as the Celtics. He could sign for the vets minimum and give the Celtics a much-needed scoring punch off the bench. Boston’s bench 3-point shooting ranks 27th in the league, easily making Curry’s arrival a positive. A Kyrie Irving-Seth Curry backcourt would be fun in terms of scoring, but the defense would surely suffer. On the other hand, the thought of Smart and Curry playing the good cop/ bad cop routine would make Training Day officers duo Alonzo and Jake shed tears. Theoretically, canceling out each other’s weaknesses, in turn, giving them the cushion to push the envelope on both sides of the ball.
The Sixers depth chart is riddled with guards this season, but it won’t be for long. Recently acquired Marco Belinelli will soon be a free agent and likely isn’t a part of the team’s long term plans. JJ Redick is coming off the books after his one-year $23 million dollar-deal. It makes most sense that Redick is the only player to bring back if you want to solidify a winning-season.
However, Redick will likely be a pricey player. The idea of him taking a cut in terms of annual income in favor for a longer deal isn’t farfetched, but there are other options for Philadelphia to pursue.
A younger, and more importantly, a cap-saving player such as Seth Curry makes sense for the steadily-improving Sixers.
Plug Curry into a lineup with Embiid and brace for the inside-out game. With ball handlers Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons on the team, Curry will feel less pressure to make plays, and instead focus primarily on hitting open shots. You can make a separate article on the lineup possibilities alone, but that’s a rabbit hole for another day.
Statistics courtesy of NBA.com, Cleaning The Glass, and Basketball Reference.