Seth Curry has played with six different NBA teams during his seven-year NBA career. Yet he has experienced more success from a statistical standpoint with the Dallas Mavericks than he did with Memphis, Cleveland, Phoenix, Sacramento or Portland.
So what is it about coach Rick Carlisle’s system that gives Curry so much comfort?
“It’s a free-flowing system,” Curry said. “I feel like I can adapt to a lot of different systems. I think coach just puts me through a lot of positions to use my shooting ability to spread the floor, and also he gives me the ability to make plays with the ball in my hands.”
Curry originally signed a two-year contract with the Mavs in 2016, and became a smashing success during his first tour with Dallas. The 6-2 guard averaged career highs in scoring (12.8), rebounds (2.5), assists (2.7) and minutes played (29). He also shot a career-best 48.1 percent from the field during the 2016-17 season.
Unfortunately, Curry wasn’t able to capitalize on that season’s success, as he missed the following season to address a stress reaction of his left tibia that eventually needed surgery. From there, Curry moved on to sign a two-year contract in the summer of 2018 with the Trail Blazers – the second year was a player option – and helped Portland reach the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2000.
Curry decided to opt out of the second year, and last summer he signed a four-year, $32 million contract with the Mavs, who were chomping at the bit at the prospects of getting the Charlotte native back on their roster.
“Look, he’s a historically elite shooter in this league,” Carlisle said. “Unfortunately, he had a health issue his last year with us before coming back — he was able to get that resolved.”
Before returning to the Mavs, Curry proved that he’s able to perform on a big stage with bright lights as he more than held his own in last year’s conference finals against the Golden State Warriors, who employ Curry’s older brother, Stephen Curry. Thus, he’s more than ready to help the Mavs navigate their way through the difficult playoff waters next month under the bubble in Orlando.
“It might be different here (in Orlando), but in the normal playoffs the environment is so electric,” Curry said. “Every game is very important and . . . the whole world is watching.”
And every play, and every missed shot and turnover is scrutinized to the 10th power. Still, the wealth of knowledge gained from participating in the playoffs, Curry insists, is unparalleled.
“Just getting that playoff experience last year was key for me,” he said. “It gave me a lot of confidence to play well throughout these playoffs and make a big run.
“I think all the young guys on this team are going to benefit from that playoff experience coming up.”
Certainly, the Mavs took notice of the contributions Curry made during his one season with the Blazers.
“The year he had in Portland was terrific,” Carlisle said. “It started out a little bit slow, but it got momentum as the season went along.
“And by the end, he was a real factor with them. They made a pretty deep playoff run . . . and he was a big part of that.”
Curry enters the restart of this season averaging 12.6 points and 24.5 minutes, while shooting career highs in both field goal accuracy (50 percent) and 3-point marksmanship (45.3 percent). He anticipates that carrying over in Orlando.
Meanwhile, like other players in his situation, Curry left Dallas for a stay in Orlando that could last two or three months. That means he’s going a lengthy time without seeing his wife, Callie, and their two-year old daughter.
“They went and stayed with some family, so they’re around a lot of family, so my daughter is doing well,” Curry said. “She’s having a lot of fun. She doesn’t really know what’s going on. For me, I just try to keep my face in front of her, I try to use FaceTime as much as possible.
“It’s a tough time right now being away from my family for so long. Obviously my wife knows what we’re going through, but my daughter is so young she’s just happy to see me when I get on the phone. Other than that, she’s going on with her normal day.”
Curry also is going on with his normal day. Well, as normal as normal can be considering the circumstances.
“Me personally, I’ve just been harping on the coaches to let me play as much live five-on-five or three-on-three as possible in these practices,” Curry said. “I get my normal work in before we come out here and get ready, and even get my normal shots up in practice, before practice, after practice.
“But you really need those game situations to simulate the speed of your timing and getting your shot up over longer defenders. Being able to play scrimmages against our team helps get your timing back as far as getting your shot off and shooting shots under pressure.”
And Curry’s timing continues to be best with the Mavericks.
“He allows me to play on and off the ball, and he just gives me a lot of opportunities and a lot of minutes,” Curry said of Carlisle. “He’s given me the most minutes of my career so far and it allows me to get better as the season goes along, so it’s been a great fit for both of us.”