The Mavericks have added a 25-year-old combo guard coming off a terrific stretch to end what was his first true NBA season, which included a 20-point, 15-assist clinic in a win.

With no further context, that sounds like an absolute steal. Even with tons of context, it still sounds exciting. That player is Seth Curry, the newest Maverick.

Last week the Mavs signed Curry, an unrestricted free agent who most recently played with the Sacramento Kings. He put together a nice season out west, but the organization looked to fill its backcourt with veteran wings like Matt Barnes and Garrett Temple ahead of its new arena opening this fall. That allowed Curry to hit the market, and the Mavericks — who have lowered their average age by 2.4 years with moves to get younger this summer — quickly came calling.

You will surely recognize the last name, as Seth is the younger brother of two-time MVP Stephen Curry. Make no mistake, however: Seth is his own player, and there is much more to his game than simply being related to a superstar. It’s now his mission to take advantage of the opportunity in Dallas, where he can quite literally make a name for himself.

Let’s take a look at what Curry, who will turn 26 before opening night, accomplished last season, and how his skill set will blend into the Mavs’ system.

Three-point shooting

Curry’s most immediate and obvious impact will come behind the 3-point line, where he’s been an ace for virtually his entire playing career. After shooting 42.0 percent on 3s in three seasons at Duke and 42.5 percent in two seasons in the D-League — where he averaged 21.9 points per game in two seasons — the 6-foot-2 guard connected on 45.0 percent of his treys last season with the Kings. Of the 213 NBA players who attempted at least 100 3s last season, Curry’s percentage ranked sixth, according to Basketball-Reference.

As spot-up shooters go, he was one of the best in the NBA in 2015-16, hitting 49.2 percent of his shots in 76 such situations, per Synergy Sports. That averaged out to 1.237 points per possession, which ranked in the 95th percentile of all players. Although he only appeared in 44 games last season, making his sample size small relative to other shooters around the league, Curry shot comparatively well when judging by volume, as well. Of the 163 guys who took at least 2.5 treys per game last season, Curry’s 3-point percentage ranked fourth.

If you’re worried about how those numbers could potentially change as Curry plays more games and, potentially, more minutes per game, don’t be. The Mavericks play in a much more wide-open offense than last season’s Kings did, and Curry will be surrounded by much more shooting, particularly in the form of Dirk Nowitzki. His shooting will provide a major boost to the Mavs’ backcourt, as well — Dallas guards collectively shot 34.4 percent from behind the arc last season.

Coming off screens

This was a large source of Curry’s offense with the Kings last season, curling and cutting off screens within halfcourt sets. He was very effective in those situations as well, scoring 1.161 points per possession, which ranked in the 90th percentile league-wide.

Take the play below, for example. Curry gets Russell Westbrook all sorts of turned around before taking a DeMarcus Cousins screen moving toward the left side of the floor. Anticipating he’ll wind up on the wing, Westbrook evades the screen by going under and tries to jump the passing lane. Curry recognizes this, however, and goes instead to the corner, using some excellent footwork in the process. He hit 9 of 12 treys from the left corner last season.

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He’s able to bring his shooting within the arc, too. He connected on a respectable 39.0 percent of his mid-range shots last season, per NBA Stats, which is essentially right in line with the league average.

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You can envision the type of problems a play like this would present to defenses if Nowitzki was anywhere near Curry. Opponents constantly cling to the German in fear of him getting loose for a comfortable 15-to-18-foot jumper, leaving miles of space for everyone else around him. Between Nowitzki, Harrison Barnes, Wesley Matthews, and Deron Williams, the Mavs have a roster full of players who can operate between the mid-post and elbow and deliver passes like the one above to a cutting Curry.


Of course, those familiar with the Mavs’ offense know the team doesn’t run loads of plays for off-screen shooters, opting instead to rely on dribble penetration and ball movement out of the pick-and-roll. Curry was right in line with the league average in terms of points per possession as the P&R ball-handler last season, scoring 0.756 PPP in 78 chances. Playing in acres of space next to Nowitzki could potentially spark an uptick in his efficiency in that regard, although it’s unclear at this time just how much Curry will play on the ball. He could play in more of the off-guard role we saw Devin Harris and Raymond Felton play last season.

That doesn’t mean he’s unable to produce in those situations, should his number be called. Curry had a 15-assist game late in the season, after all, indicating that he does have the ability to facilitate and find shooters. What’s more, he turned the ball over only 12.8 percent of the time, which rates in the top-quarter of players with at least his level of usage. The Mavericks pride themselves on maintaining a low turnover percentage, so he should fit in with that philosophy.

He wouldn’t be a Curry, either, unless he possessed the ability to freelance and make some flashy plays.

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After taking the screen, Curry made a subtle fake behind-the-back pass to the rolling big man, forcing Alex Len to respect the roll. That gave Curry the bit of breathing room he needed to get off a funky scoop shot off the glass. He was an effective finisher last season, as well, shooting 64.5 percent from inside five feet and converting on 9 of his 19 floaters.

One reason to be confident Curry will continue developing his offensive game is his own level of self-confidence. It’s rare for what was basically a 25-year-old rookie — he’d played only four NBA games before last season — to burst onto the scene so late and end up having a long career, but Curry has shown in the D-League that he has what it takes to compete at this level. A late-season string of starts with Sacramento furthered that notion, as he averaged 14.4 points and 3.8 assists in nine games as a starter. He’s new to the NBA, sure, but the NBA isn’t new to him.

“People who have actually watched me know I can do this and have seen this before,” he told last season. “Whether it was in the D-League, Summer League, whatever the case may be. I’m just trying take the opportunities that I get and show who I am. This isn’t anything new to me.”

That self-confidence and hunger to get better will serve him well in Dallas, where he’ll play for a coaching staff which prides itself on developing “young veterans,” guys who aren’t teenagers but also have yet to really establish themselves on the NBA level and are looking to grow their games. Curry is next in line on that long list, and players like Harrison Barnes and others the Mavericks have signed this summer will also be looking to take the next step this season, which should create a youthful, competitive atmosphere as the Mavericks head into the season.

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