This year, Seth Curry has experienced a breakout season in Dallas, showing that he is much more than just a catch and shoot jump shooter. Curry’s dynamic offensive repertoire has been on display all season: he ranks towards the top of the league in several offensive categories, including three-point percentage (43 percent) and field goal percentage (48 percent). So far, he is even outshooting his older brother Steph, with the elder Curry averaging 40 percent and 47 percent, respectively.
Seth’s offensive efficiency is up across the board this season. In fact, his offensive skillset has become diverse enough that it is now being compared to that of his brother. Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle told Mavs.com that Seth is very similar to Steph in regards to the overall breadth of his offensive game.
“Am I surprised by his skill set and creativity? Not really, based on the bloodlines,” the coach said. “He does a lot of the things that his brother does.”
Carlisle continued: “He’s good going both right and left, he’s got the long-range and the mid-range, and he’s deceptive with the floaters around the basket.”
This isn’t to say Seth has become perfect. There are still several areas on both ends of the floor that Curry could improve in order to take his game even higher. Overall, Curry’s season stats over 70 games are as follows: 12.8 ppg, 2.7 apg, 48% FG, 43% 3PT, 85 FT. With the season winding down, let’s open up the hood and statistically break down his game, both offensively and defensively, to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the emergent Mavs’ guard.
Pick and roll efficiency: Curry has been stellar in pick and roll action this season. His 50-percent field goal rate ranks in the 87th percentile in the league. Whether coming off the screen or refusing it entirely, he has been equally effective scoring the ball. Coming off of the screen, he is highly adept at getting in the lane and finishing with his runner, as seen in the first clip below. In fact, Curry ranks as the most efficient player in the league for players with at least 20 possessions. Curry has also been solid when rejecting the ball screen, especially when taking it all the way to the basket, shooting 70% from the field. An example of his effectiveness can be seen in the second clip below.
Isolation: Curry has been a killer in isolation plays this season, ranking in the 93rd percentile in the league. He loves the right side ISO and has established a series of dribble moves that free himself for jumpers and drives. In the clip below, Curry catches Rondae Hollis-Jefferson sleeping for the easy baseline drive and score.
Catch and shoot ability: It is no secret that the foundation of Curry’s game is based off of his shot-making ability, especially in catch and shoot situations. This season, he ranks in the 93rd percentile in the league, shooting 45 percent from the field on no-dribble jumpers. With his quick release and great feel for the game, Curry has a natural sense for whether or not he can get his shot off against oncoming defenders. Curry currently ranks seventh in the league in three-point shooting percentage and 38th in the league in field goal percentage in these situations.
Pick and roll coverage: Curry has been very good this season when covering the pick and roll ball handler. He ranks in the 79th percentile in the league and does his best work when he forces his man into a pull-up jumper. He is holding the opposition to 32 percent shooting in these situations. As you can see below, Curry is solid with his overall ball screen coverage.
After initially getting beaten by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Curry does a great job recovering and contesting Pope’s pull-up jumper.
One-on-one coverage: Curry has also been outstanding when he finds himself in isolation situations. He ranks in the 76th percentile in the league when it comes to defensive scoring efficiency. Curry leverages his high basketball IQ and great sense for team defensive schemes to funnel players into tough shots, as he does here to the Suns’ T.J. Warren.
Passing out of the pick and roll: While Curry is proving to be an extremely solid player, his offense is hardly flawless. For instance, when passing out of pick-and-roll situations from the left and right side of the court, he struggles. This season, Curry ranks in only the 50th percentile in the league in such situations. As you can see in the clip below, he struggles when a defender is able to step up and take away his first option.
End of shot clock floaters: As good as Curry’s floater is, his percentage in end of clock situations is worrisome. With the clock at 4 seconds or less, Curry shoots just 25 percent from the field, which ranks him in the bottom 17 percent of the league.
Off the ball screen coverage: Curry has not been good when guarding his man through screens. He ranks in the eighth percentile in the league in this category, giving up a scorching 68 percent from the field. He is at his worst when trying to guard players off of straight cuts. In the example below, Langston Galloway of the Pelicans creates separation from Curry for a corner jump shot off of the inbounds pass.
Covering handoffs: Another area of weakness for Curry is guarding stationary and dribble handoff situations. He currently ranks in the 25th percentile in the league in these categories, giving up 49% shooting from the field. Take a look at how turned around Curry gets while guarding Bradley Beal, allowing Beal a wide-open look from the three-point line.
Defending post ups: Curry also not been great when guarding the post this season. He ranks in the 32nd percentile in the league, giving up 0.98 points per possession on these play types. Due to a lack of exceptional strength or length, Curry is often overmatched by bigger, more athletic guards around the league.
For Curry to take the next big step in his progression as a player, he will have to continue to improve the nuances of his offensive game, like pick and roll pass outs and effectiveness at the end of the clock, while also elevating his defensive abilities. Going by the numbers, Curry is already a highly polished offensive player. If he can shore up a few of these weaknesses, increased playing time could yield big dividends for Curry and the Mavericks. With increased opportunities to apply his highly efficient offensive game, Curry could have the chance to continue his strong play on a larger scale. Doing so could allow both Curry and the Mavs a more potent attack heading into next season.
All statistics are courtesy of Synergy and Basketball-Reference.com and are current as of April 3, 2017.