The Dallas Mavericks aren’t bashful about their free agency plans. The front office has made it known it plans to use the cap space it strategically preserved. With Luka Doncic on board, the Mavericks have a hole at the five and visions of DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan are dancing in their heads.
If the Mavericks land a big-time center, the front office will need to get creative in filling out the rest of the roster. Even with Luka Doncic in the mix, the team has a hole at the shooting guard position. The Mavericks could explore the household names on the market, but the best option may not be further than the team thinks.
Enter Seth Curry.
The Mavs organization familiarized itself with Curry in the 2016-17 season when he broke out for a career year. In 70 games he averaged 12.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and shot 43 percent from deep in 29 minutes per contest. Finally receiving meaningful minutes a few years into his NBA career, Curry made good on Rick Carlisle’s faith and produced like a quality combo guard in the NBA. He was able to play one through three for the Mavs and seized his first real opportunity in the league.
Injury struck last season costing Curry the entire year with a left tibia issue. The Mavericks kept postponing his return date before finally electing for season-ending surgery in February. It was a tough draw for the 27-year-old who was finally catching his break in a contract year.
It should come as no surprise when the name ‘Curry’ is associated with ‘shooting’, but the fact remains, Curry’s greatest strength is his accuracy. In fact, Curry finished the 2016-17 season with the eighth highest three-point percentage for players who competed in 70 or more games. That was higher than players like C.J. McCollum, Klay Thompson, and even his brother, Steph Curry.
Spotting up, coming off screens, pulling up off one dribble, it didn’t matter because Curry was lethal. He scored 1.13 points per possession spotting up (82nd percentile), 1.24 points per possession running off screens (93rd percentile), and shot a blistering 45 percent pulling up from deep, according to NBA.com. He used the whole arsenal on the offensive end and even operated as an effective pick-and-roll ball handler.
Curry doesn’t possess elite athleticism or quickness. He’s still a savvy, instinctive player, but the lack of athleticism dictates what he can and can’t do on the floor. Curry is also a bit undersized. At 6’2 he has the size of a prototypical point guard, but his best position is probably as a shooting guard. Most lineups with Curry will likely be undersized on the defensive end. While Curry produced in pick and roll situations, they were mostly off secondary action. Curry as the primary initiator of the offense never worked well for the Mavericks.
Finally, Curry’s biggest weakness is his health. He’s struggled with shin injuries dating back to his senior year at Duke, so it’s fair to wonder if this will plague him for the rest of his career.
Fit with the Mavericks
Curry proved he belongs on an NBA roster before he got hurt, and he demonstrated he could fit seamlessly with what Dallas likes to do. Shooting is a premium, and Curry can do that in spades. With Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson in the fold, the back court could get crowded depending on what Dallas does with players like restricted free agent Yogi Ferrell.
Curry won’t be the priority when free agency kicks off, but if healthy, he represents a low-cost option at filling out the roster. He’s a versatile guard in Carlisle’s offense that often features three ball handlers. Curry could step in tomorrow and be trusted to run the offense, play off the ball and pick up defensive assignments. That’s important to a head coach who wants to be in the playoffs.
The market will be small for Curry, so the Mavericks could get him at another discounted price.