Dallas Mavericks: How Seth Curry is thriving in his new (old) home

Finally with a team to call home, Seth Curry is proving to be the ideal running mate alongside the present and future of the Dallas Mavericks.

The road to NBA stability was anything but easy for Seth Curry. Undrafted out of college, he played for six teams across five seasons littered with G League stints and 10-day contracts. It wasn’t until he proved a valued member of the Portland Trail Blazers’ run to the conference finals last season where the Dallas Mavericks inked him to a four-year, $32 million deal over the summer.

Curry is no stranger to the Mavericks, having played in Dallas during the 2016-17 season. It was where he played the best in his short NBA career, a trend that’s continued in his second stint with the team. In just 24.5 minutes, he’s produced 12.6 points per game, primarily as an off-the-bench contributor.

The Mavericks have nailed perhaps the most difficult aspect of championship building in less than one calendar year. In Luka Doncic, the franchise home to one of the game’s greatest international talents has moved swiftly onto the one next in line. Joining him is a 7’3” unicorn with plenty of All-Star trips in his future.

Two young stars set a foundation for perennial playoff status and maybe even fringe title contention. Climbing that final hurdle, however, requires contributions from the other three guys on the court and 10 on the roster. Your Danny Greens, Shane Battiers and Metta World Peaces. Guys who complement the individual stars, thereby elevating the team.

No NBA trait is more valuable than shooting. It’s why Curry can be plugged into any lineup and thrive, making the game easier for those who its already plenty difficult for.

Still just a sophomore, Luka commands incredible attention at the offensive end, where polished skills and inherent creativity blend to create a dominant offensive force. Like many superstars before him, getting the most out of those gifts means ensuring he has the space to maximize them, a job suited to Curry’s expertise.

After years of limited playing time and therefore scarce shots, Curry finally has the volume to command legitimate attention beyond the arc. No player attempting more than 5.0 triples a game converts them at a higher rate than his 45.3 percent.

Among players taking at least 3.0 catch-and-shoot threes per game, Curry’s 48.4 percentage from beyond the arc ranks first. With 1.31 points per possession, he ranks inside the 98th percentile in spot-up shooting.

Watch the basic fundamentals of basketball below, where the gravity of a Doncic drives forces Alen Smailagić to help off Maxi Kleber, leaving Jacob Evans III on an island to guard two players. Luka’s supreme court vision finds an open Curry who promptly drains the triple at the end of the shot clock.

Per Cleaning The Glass, the Dallas Mavericks are plus-7.0 in over 1,400 possessions Curry and Doncic have shared the court, including an offense that ranks in the 99th percentile in points per 100 possessions. No surprise, they also take and make more 3-pointers as well.

“I would say he’s like LeBron [James] with his size and ballhandling, and playmaking ability,” Curry said of Doncic. “He can make all types of passes because he’s so big and he can see everything.”

Luka isn’t the only Mavericks star to have benefited from the presence of Curry. Among teammates to have played more than 400 minutes with Curry, no two-man combo has a higher net rating than he and Kristaps Porzingis.

The Unicorn is not your typical interior presence, traditionally preferring to maneuver around or shoot over defenses instead of bulling his way through them. There’s no deep dive needed to understand how Curry can aid those skills, ensuring at the least that his man won’t be the one to swarm a reputably poor passer.

A role player is only as beneficial as much as he helps his star teammates instead of himself, and Curry has fit the bill next to Dallas’ dynamic duo.

He isn’t exactly the ideal backcourt mate for Doncic at the defensive end, where unavoidable inefficiencies stem from a measly 6’2” frame. It might explain the minimal starts (20) he accumulated this season, stuck behind the taller and bulkier Tim Hardaway Jr.

Nevertheless, his offensive contributions have greatly aided a Dallas Mavericks team currently 1.5 games behind Houston for the sixth seed in the Western Conference. In a journey littered with roadblocks, it’s a stop that certainly has the most staying power.