By Brian Kotloff, NBADLeague.com
Stephen Curry is an NBA MVP candidate, leading the league’s top team and adding to his highlight reel seemingly every night … and yet he may not even be the hottest Curry going right now.
That would be younger brother Seth Curry, who has essentially become a minor-league version of his superstar sibling while tearing through the NBA Development League this season.
Seth is averaging 26.3 points per game, shooting 53% from three-point range and is still cooling off from a 43-point explosion on Friday in which he made 14 of 19 shots.
As he catches his breath, here’s some perspective on just how far Curry has come:
Tale of the Tape: The NBA and NBADL’s Currys
|Sibling Rivalry: How Seth Curry Stacks Up to Stephen|
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Heat Check: Just How Hot Did Seth Get?
After playing five games in eight days across three cities, Curry finally ran out of gas in Fort Wayne, where he played just 21 minutes on Saturday night, scoring 5 points on 1-of-8 shooting. But the seven-game roll he ripped off before that — culminating in Friday night’s career-high 43 — was a thing of beauty, akin to Pierre Jackson’s sensational stretch in the NBA D-League last season.
His numbers over those two weeks? 31.6 points, 4.9 three-pointers, 59% from the field, 53% from three, 37-of-39 from the line and 2.0 steals per game.
Stock Watch: What Does This Mean for His NBA Prospects?
It’s easy for an NBA D-League prospect to focus on putting up numbers in an attempt to catch NBA eyes. But given the minor league’s faster pace and looser defense, which skew raw statistics, efficiency and consistency are even more critical for a player proving that he’s ready to make the jump.
That’s what makes Curry’s development most impressive:
- He’s been incredibly efficient. With sparkling shooting percentages (52/53/93), Curry is averaging 1.55 points per shot, a spectacular mark for a player who’s the No. 1 target of opposing defenses every game. By comparison, NBA leading scorer James Harden is averaging 1.45 points per shot and LeBron James sits at 1.39 — tied with big brother Steph’s mark. And to get a sense of just how locked in Curry’s been from outside, he’s shooting 52% from the floor despite taking 60% of his shots from beyond 15 feet (he’s made 53% of those jumpers).
- He’s been incredibly consistent. Before Saturday’s clunker, Curry had scored 24+ points on 50% shooting or better in 10 of his 16 games, while making at least four three-pointers in 12 of 16.
- He’s improved by leaps and bounds since last season. That efficiency and consistency were not there for Curry as a rookie. Playing about 70 miles south of Steph with the Santa Cruz Warriors (the Orlando Magic traded for his NBA D-League rights during the offseason), Seth posted run-of-the-mill shooting percentages (44/37/85), averaged 1.21 points per shot and shot 50% or better in 13 of his 38 games.
The gaudy numbers and flashy step-backs don’t mean Curry suddenly profiles as an NBA starter; he’s still a below-average NBA athlete, a tweener between the guard positions and a limited defender.
But it may be time to begin looking at him in a different light and certainly as more than a 10-day Call-Up candidate. In fact, Seth’s rapid development resembles Steph’s rise from baby-faced killer at Davidson to the player you see today. Like Steph, he faced questions about how well he could play with the ball after starring in college as more of a come-off-screens, catch-and-shoot player, and was underestimated athletically.
Now he’s breaking through the ceiling that appeared to be set for him just two years ago, and each day that passes without another Curry on an NBA bench comes as a surprise.