Fourth quarter in a tight game. Four points separate the Mavs from the upstart fifth-seed Jazz. Pick and roll to get a mismatch. Clock winding down. Need a bucket about as bad as you can need one.
At this crucial point, who’s got the ball in his hands? Harrison Barnes, a young star in his break-out season averaging 20 a game? Deron Williams, league leader in clutch time points? Dirk Nowitzki, number six on the NBA scoring list and infamous for game winners?
Seth Curry. And not just Seth Curry, but Seth Curry iso-ed against Rudy Gobert, the league leader in blocks.
Two dribbles. Drive. Bucket.
The next play: same pick and roll, same Curry versus Gobert mismatch. Same drive, same bucket.
After those crucial fourth quarter buckets, the Mavs went on to win that Feb. 9 game against Utah in overtime, and it ignited a volcanic eruption from Seth Curry. Since the All-Star break, he’s shooting 53 percent from the floor, an identical 53 percent from three, and averaging 22 points per game — mind-bending numbers for a player the Kings let walk last season.
After a long journey around the league, Curry has found a home here in Dallas as evidenced by the fact that in the waning moments of a close game, noted veteran worshipper Rick Carlisle called two plays for him instead Dirk, Barnes or D-Will. That’s how good he’s been. He is playing the best basketball of his life.
And yet, when you open Twitter or flip over to ESPN, you can’t read or hear about Seth without some mention of his brother. See if any of these headlines/tweets sound familiar:
“Which Curry is hotter?” “Is there a new Curry in town?” “Little brother is all grown up!” “The Best Curry in the League?” “Seth Lights it up while Steph Slumps - My Column” “The Curry Connection: Dell Curry Speaks on His Two NBA Sons!”
In every SportsCenter montage, every radio show, every post game interview, Seth Curry is grappling with not just the already burdensome expectations that every NBA player carries, but the impossible shadow of his brother Stephen Curry.
In the early days, when he was just coming out of college or struggling to break into the Kings rotation, this wasn’t a surprise. When the commentators or sports writers don’t know much about you, they go with what little they do, and it’s not so bad to be linked with one of American sports’ most-loved families.
But despite playing out of his mind the past ten games and making a name for himself on this Mavs team, every move Seth Curry makes is still judged against his brother’s, and it’s time that stopped.
I’m not a younger sibling myself, but I know that constant comparisons to family members can make anyone feel unappreciated, and in this case the comparison is especially unfair. Steph Curry is an All-Star, two time MVP, and an NBA champion. He’s got the commercials, the signature (strangely Seinfeld-esque) shoes; hell, his daughter even became a meme for a while back when whipping and nay-naying was still a thing.
Steph Curry is a household name and one of the best of the very best in basketball. To view Seth’s every make or miss through the lens of his brother’s career, to measure him against such an impossible standard is not only ridiculous, it blinds you to what a special player Seth is in his own right.
I understand that the sports-media industrial complex is a hungry machine starving for narratives (pot/kettle, I know), but we’d all be better served by looking at Seth Curry with fresh eyes. He’s a different player and a different person than his brother, and that’s a good thing.
So next time you watch Seth sink a pull-up three or bank a crafty finish high off the glass, pull back on that “Best Curry in the NBA - lol” tweet and just appreciate Seth for who he is as a player.
It shouldn’t be hard — the dude is molten magma right now.