When I first saw the Magic's summer league roster, Seth Curry stood out. Of course he did. As a Duke graduate and Steph's younger brother, he has multiple "claims to fame" in NBA circles. I knew he received a few NBA call-ups last year but never stuck; I was interested to see how he has improved since his time in Durham.
Full disclosure: I'm a Duke fan, so I spent a fair amount of time watching Curry during his years as a Blue Devil. And really, he seemed to be a classic case of the player who excels at the college level, but struggles in the NBA, where his below-average physical tools are exposed the league's elite athletes. I loved him in college, but the Association just didn't seem to be in his cards.
It's not to say that size and athleticism still aren't problems for Curry -- they definitely are -- but through three games with the Magic, he has been better in that department than expected. Defense is the biggest area where these problems manifest themselves, but Curry's effort on that end of the floor has negated some of those issues. He's played extremely hard and stayed with point guards that are much better athletes, which is no small feat.
"That's what I'm focusing on for the most part," Curry said of his defense. "Guys know what I can offensively; score and make plays. I'm trying to show that I can guard point guards at this level and pressure the ball -- I feel like I've gotten a little bit quicker, a little bit stronger. I feel like that allows me to pick up the pressure a little bit more."
Curry is never going to be a great defender, even with improved foot speed. He just doesn't have the tools. But every little bit of growth matters, and Curry won't be brought in for his defense; teams want him for his ability to hit shots from behind the arc.
In bits and pieces, Curry has shown off that sweet shooting stroke that is his calling card in the league. Against the Sixers on Saturday, he exploded for eight straight points, courtesy of two threes and a floater, a weapon that could be increasingly important to him if he finds a way to stick in the Association. It seemed natural for Curry to turn the game with his shooting; maybe it's because I've seen his brother do that so many times before. Whatever the case, it's clear that Curry's shot will need to be on-point for him to become a useful NBA player.
Seth Curry still has work to do to carve out an NBA career, and I'm not sure he ever will. I doubt the Magic will be the team Curry breaks in on, as they value athleticism and defense too much to bring him in, despite the strides he has made in those departments. But as more people watch him, they will see that he isn't the same player he was at Duke. Gone are the days of Seth Curry, the undersized two-guard who can't play defense. He has developed a well-rounded game, and he's just hoping people can see that.
"I didn't get to play summer league last year," Curry pointed out earlier this week, "so [this has been] a big opportunity for me to come out here and play."
So far, he's doing his best to take advantage of it.
By: Scott Fisher