Seth Curry learned early in life what it was like to get robbed by the referee.
Especially when the ref was his mother, Sonya.
Those backyard shooting contests and one-on-one games between Curry and his brother, Steph, sometimes got a little wild.
“They were fun – real competitive,” Seth said. “My mom used to have to come out and break up some fights and referee the game. It gave us that competitive spirit that we have now.”
So was his mom a fair ref?
“I don’t think so.”
Hey, it’s never too early to start griping about the refs, even if they can pile on more chores instead of technical fouls.
Seth Curry, 26, will take the court Tuesday night when the Golden State Warriors and his two-time MVP brother Steph, 29, make their only appearance of the season at American Airlines Center.
At least, Mavericks fans hope it will be a Steph appearance. The Warriors played Monday night at Oklahoma City. Even Seth wondered aloud if it might be a rest game for his brother on the second night of back-to-backs.
Assuming they both play, it will be a grand occasion for the Currys — including their mom, who is scheduled to attend the game according to Dell Curry, their father.
Even with high bar, is Seth outshooting Steph?
Dell Curry was once one of the most feared shooters in the NBA. He instilled the competitive drive and feathery touch in his kids that includes a daughter who dabbled in basketball before becoming a standout college volleyball player.
Dell Curry has watched his sons find their own way in the NBA. For Steph, it has been a celebrated run to the top of the profession. In addition to his MVP trophies, he won the championship in 2014-15 and recalibrated the league’s thinking on what a traditional shooting range is for most players.
Steph Curry is not most players. He pulls up from just about anywhere once he clears half-court. And he shoots it well.
But here’s the news flash — not as well as Seth.
This season, the Mavericks’ starter at shooting guard since Jan. 12 is making 42.4 percent of his 3-pointers. His more famous brother is making 39.6 percent, although it’s important to note that Steph takes nearly 10 3-pointers per game to fewer than five per game for Seth.
A couple weeks ago, Dell Curry, an analyst on the Charlotte Hornets telecasts, was giving his thoughts on 3-point shooting and a list of the league’s best appeared on the screen. There were two “S. Curry” names. Dell made a point to take a picture of that and send it to his sons.
“It wasn’t surprising to Seth,” Dell Curry said. “He probably thinks he’s a better shooter. It’s that competitive humor from pops. And don’t think Steph didn’t see that and take note.”
Their father isn’t the only one who has noticed that Seth is the better long-range shooter this season.
Dwane Casey, the Toronto coach and former assistant to Rick Carlisle, said he’s watched with great interest as Seth Curry has blossomed with the Mavericks. He said people around the league have taken note.
“Both of them can score,” Casey said. “I coached against their dad when I was at Western Kentucky and he was at Virginia Tech. All of them could shoot it. And I’m not sure if their mom couldn’t, either. They all could shoot the ball.”
Dell Curry said Sonya was a good shooter and was recruited out of high school back in the day.
A ‘healthy’ competition
While he’s slowly and steadily building a career with the Mavericks, Seth’s rise has been dramatic in its own way. He had played only 48 NBA games before this season. He broke through with the Kings last season. But this season has been a full-blown arrival as a legitimate NBA scorer.
One interesting aspect of Seth’s season has been the fact that his brother is rarely mentioned in the Mavericks’ locker room. As much as an MVP can be ignored, Steph is.
“He’s sometimes talked about because he’s a great player, but it has nothing to do with being his brother,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “Sometimes Steph makes incredible plays that are being talked about.”
However, that doesn’t mean his name doesn’t come up in other situations.
“I sometimes bring it up when we’re playing one-on-one in pregame,” Nowitzki said. “I’ll tell him: I’m going to treat you like your brother and your dad did. But other than that, not really. He’s his own guy and he’s carving out a nice career.”
Speaking of which, anytime the Curry family got busy with shooting games against each other, it got pretty cutthroat. Dad made sure of that.
He retired from the NBA in 2002, which means Nowitzki has played against all three Currys.
Dell Curry loved the competition among family members. And it served a valuable purpose, he said.
“Anytime you have brothers, it’s competitive, but it was a healthy competition being that my wife and I were both athletes,” Dell said. “We’re a competitive family in a good way. It keeps you motivated, keeps you focused. And we use athletics for life lessons, as well.”
Seth’s road to Dallas
While Steph’s career has been full of accolades and max contracts, Seth’s journey has been slower. When he finished school at Duke, he had to have surgery to have his tibia repaired.
At that time, a plan was put in place, Dell said. In talking with their agent and medical people, it became clear that it was not going to be an automatic jump to the NBA when he went undrafted in 2013.
“We knew he would have to go through the D-League and it would probably take two years before he would get a shot,” Dell said. “And it was almost two years to the day. And then, the way he played last season with Sacramento, we thought he would get some interest.”
And through it all, father never saw his son question whether the NBA was going to happen for him. He remembered one night when Seth was playing in the D-League, where he was a two-time all-star, that if he could handle long nights in Erie, Pa., he could get through anything.
“I never once saw him waver,” Dell said.
Now, with the 2016-17 season nearly behind him, Seth has blazed his own trail. He no longer is just Steph’s brother. He’s his own man and creating his own legacy as a shooter, one who wears No. 30, just like his brother and father.
“I make it a point not to even bring up his brother, literally,” owner Mark Cuban said. “I’ve never brought up his brother’s name. We have Seth and he’ll hopefully be a long-term piece. That’s what we want. Seth is busting his [tail] to get better, and it has nothing to do with anybody else in his family.”
Seth Curry isn’t the featured attraction in the Mavericks’ offense like his brother Steph is for Golden State, but Seth’s numbers have been more than respectable since entering the starting lineup on Jan. 12. A look at both players since that point.
|3-point FG pct.|