Seth Curry has lived in the shadow of his father Dell and especially his older brother Steph for most of his life. After bouncing around the D-League for a few years, he got his shot in the NBA this season with the Sacramento Kings.
Kings fans have groaned about Curry's lack of playing time behind Ben McLemore, Marco Belinelli and James Anderson. Head coach George Karl, who has a reputation for not playing rookies/young players, decided to start Curry Friday night against the Phoenix Suns. Curry played well, making an impact on defense when he wasn't scoring and he looked comfortable in the flow of the offense when he was hitting his shots in the second half. He finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block in 26 minutes.
Karl has said he wants to get Curry and rookie Willie Cauley-Stein more minutes in the final stretch of the season, but their minutes have continued to fluctuate. With the playoffs out of the picture, playing the younger guys gives the organization a chance to see what they may have for the future. Following the win over the Suns, Sactown Royalty asked Karl what he thought Curry's future is as an NBA player.
"I think Seth will be a combo guard, play both 1 and 2. I think usually those guys when I look at them, I see them probably trying to score a little bit too much and I think he probably should become more of a playmaking point as much as a scoring point," Karl said. "But he's going to be around for a couple years. He's definitely going to have a few more years of someone; I think we have him for one more year. I think he has a tenacity to him and a good basketball feel to him. Now he's just got to be confident and consistent."
Karl went on to say Curry has been a good pro, but needs to get minutes to be confident and consistent, and that it is difficult when you don't know if you are getting minutes, referencing his own NBA career.
"I was a guy that kind of played a year or two more, you never knew when you were going in the game and you try to be ready and you try to keep your body ready and your mind ready," said Karl, who played in the ABA and NBA from 1973 to 1978. He played a combined 281 minutes over his last two season.
Curry tweeted a snake emoji after the game and later deleted it.
Accurate RT @sdotcurry: " "— Mek (@_YoMek) March 26, 2016
The snake reference, of course, was made famous by DeMarcus Cousins' snake in the grass emoji tweet, often taken as a slam against Karl.
Curry fielded questions with a smile on his face in the locker room Friday.
"I just got to do my job, get the opportunities I am given and go out there and play," Curry said. "It's not the best situation to not know whether you are going to play or not, but I just got to go out there and put in the work ever day like I have been doing."
Curry said playing defense and getting extended minutes helps him to get going and get into the flow of the game.
"You can get a good rhythm, you can make adjustments too. I knew where I was going to get better shots, where I could attack and how they were playing pick and roll so I could make a mistake here and then come back the next play and fix that," Curry said.
The 6'2'', 185-pound guard has been working out with veteran Caron Butler a lot, and admires his work ethic. The two of them go to the gym early and get shots up.
His teammates shared supportive comments after his first start. Both Cousins and Rajon Rondo referred to Curry as a hard worker.
"I think he's going to have a bright future, hard worker, never gets down on himself, he's a confident player. The biggest thing is he's a hard worker so I think he'll always have a spot in this league," Cousins said.
Rondo echoed similar sentiments.
"Seth is a hard worker, hard work always pays off. He's definitely a ... shooter, he can pass the ball, he can do a lot of things. He had a couple tear drops that was nice tonight as well so sky's the limit for Seth. He's young and like I said, the way he works you never know what he can do," Rondo said.
Curry's defense is what got him noticed earlier in the season with Karl declaring him the best on-ball defender on the team. He played 35 total minutes in the month after that comment, however. Speaking of defense, Cauley-Stein showed that he can be a real threat on offense in Friday's win over the Suns as he finished with a career-high 26 points to go along with 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and 3 steals. While Karl didn't give a projection on his career after the game, he did say this.
"Willie was good, but I think a lot of his good was we made plays for him," Karl said.
Cauley-Stein did score off several lobs throughout the game.
"He's worked real hard on his game and it was good to see him have an offensive game where he can take some chances and take some opportunity and I think it will help him see what he can do in this game now," Karl said.
Karl's comments about his players this season remain interesting to say the least. We'll see how this dance between the coach and the young players takes shape over the final 10 games of the season.