ATLANTA — The Curry name remains in the NBA postseason spotlight even though the Stephen Curry-led Golden State Warriors were eliminated in the play-in round.
That’s because of Steph’s younger brother, 76ers guard Seth Curry.
Seth averaged 21 points while making 10 of 15 three-pointers in the first two games of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks. His scoring average and three-point percentage (66.7) are career highs for a playoff series.
Not bad for a first-year full-time starter who went undrafted in 2013 and came up through the NBA Development League.
But his success as a starter is far from surprising to the seventh-year veteran. Curry realized several seasons ago that he could be a productive NBA player. But one has to wonder if this season’s experience is better than even he expected.
Despite having to overcome COVID-19, the 30-year-old averaged a career-high 12.5 points this regular season. He also made a career-best 89.6% of his foul shots.
“I’m just doing what I’ve done my whole career,” said Curry, who has averaged 10.5 points in 313 career regular-season games.
In addition, his career three-point percentage (44.4) ranks second all-time behind Steve Kerr (45.4).
“It’s no different,” he continued. “I don’t think I had one of my best shooting regular seasons, to be honest. I had a couple of bad stretches. But I just keep it simple and do what I do. When your minutes stack up, your numbers are going to elevate a little bit.”
Curry, who is coach Doc Rivers’ son-in-law, has a point.
He ranked sixth in the NBA in three-point percentage (45.0) this season after ranking third in each of the previous two seasons.
After following his bout with COVID, the Charlotte, N.C., native had three games in which he failed to score a point.
However, he’s been tough to stop in the postseason.
Curry had a career playoff-high 30 points while making 3 of 6 three-pointers as the Sixers closed out the Washington Wizards in the first round.
He followed that by making 5 of 9 three-pointers en route to scoring 21 points in the Game 1 setback to the Hawks last Sunday. He had another 21-point outing while making 5 of 6 three-pointers in the Game 2 victory Tuesday.
Rivers has been able to enjoy and appreciate what he’s doing this season.
“Probably not much as father-in-law,” Rivers said. “Probably more just as coach. When you are on the floor, it’s not lovey-dovey or anything that. But what I’ve seen in Seth the last couple of years is how good he is with the ball.”
Curry handled the ball a little in pick-and-rolls as a Dallas Maverick last season before the Sixers acquired him on draft night.
“Coming here, I think that’s where his game has expanded the most,” Rivers said. “I think we already knew he could shoot the ball. But what we didn’t know was how well of a playmaker he could be. And he’s been that for us.”
In the past, Curry was in the shadows of Steph, a two-time league MVP and three-time NBA champion. Regardless of how well he shot the ball, Seth was recognized as the younger brother of a future Hall of Famer and son of a Charlotte Hornets legend.
His father, Dell, a sharpshooter guard himself, played for five NBA teams over 16 seasons. Ten of those years were with the Hornets. Dell retired as the Hornets’ all-time leader in scoring and three-pointers.
Now folks are talking about Seth.
“I’m just locked-in in everything I got to do on the floor, to be honest,” he said of being the spotlight. “It’s not different than what I’ve done last year in the playoffs or whatever. Just focused on every single day.”
His mindset is on what he has to do at practice, in shoot-arounds, and during the games.
“In the end of the season, I will look back on everything,” Curry said. “But right now, I’m locked-in on the process.”
That hasn’t stopped from seeing encouraging texts from family members and friends. He’s also receiving Facebook messages from aunts and his grandmother.
He is also receiving advice from Steph, who has been watching his games all season long.
“It’s been pretty much the same it’s been my whole life, just talking basketball,” Seth said. “We talk the same way and try to help each other get better, and we just enjoy being around each other.”