Seth Curry has drawn praise for his defense. That skill seemingly would lead to more playing time on the Kings, who rank near or at the bottom in multiple defensive categories.
But the third-year guard has seen limited action, increasing his frustration.
“Absolutely, absolutely,” he said. “I know I can do some things to help the team do a few things to get better and win. But it’s a matter of sitting down and waiting for my opportunity and having games like (Friday) where I can help and continue to get the opportunity. That’s not in my hand, whether I play or not. I’ve just got to wait my turn.”
On Friday, Curry scored a career-high 19 points in the Kings’ loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. He played 26 minutes because starting point guard Rajon Rondo was out with right thumb tendinitis.
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Because of his scoring and defensive capabilities, Curry would appear to have a better chance at cracking coach George Karl’s rotation. The Kings have been desperate for consistent backcourt scoring from someone other than a point guard. Defense also has been a problem in the backcourt all season.
But Curry still isn’t playing much, even though Karl publicly has complimented his defense. Rondo and Darren Collison play the minutes at point guard, and Ben McLemore and Marco Belinelli get most of the minutes at shooting guard.
Curry has appeared in 28 games this season, averaging 4.0 points in 10.2 minutes per game.
I know I can do some things to help the team do a few things to get better and win. But it’s a matter of sitting down and waiting for my opportunity and having games like (Friday) where I can help and continue to get the opportunity.
Seth Curry, Kings guard
“Seth played very well, had some nice moments,” Karl said after Friday’s game. “I think from my standpoint, he’s a good offensive player, but defensively, I think he might have our most active hands, most alert activity on the court, from a defensive standpoint. He’s so small but gets some things done with that size.”
Curry is listed at 6-foot-2, but the Kings might want to consider going smaller in the backcourt if it means more production at both ends of the floor. McLemore’s playing time and production have decreased this season, and Belinelli is on pace for the worst shooting season of his career.
Despite a good showing against the Clippers, Curry has no guarantees. When Karl wants more defense at guard, he’s used James Anderson, who is bigger (6-6) than Curry but doesn’t pose the same scoring threat.
When Rondo is healthy, he and Collison share the point guard duties, an arrangement that’s worked well for the Kings. And unless Belinelli or McLemore play less, Curry is stuck.
“It’s tough,” Curry said. “I think mentally the toughest part is trying to stay involved and try to keep that competitive edge. It’s pretty easy to work out and keep your skills right, but I think mentally and being in good shape is the hardest part.”
19 Seth Curry’s career-high point total Friday against the Clippers
Curry remains confident despite his predicament.
“I know who I am as a player,” he said. “I’ve been around and it’s my third year out of college, so I’m pretty confident in my game offensively and I know can do some good things defensively. A lot of times I play with another point guard, so I’ve got to fight to guard big guys, guarding (shooting guards). But I’m quicker, so I can get my hands on balls and things like that. It’s just tough to be in the right shape and stay mentally locked in.”
Curry can play either guard spot, even if his size is better suited for point guard. His outside shooting would help offset concerns about his size on offense.
“I can do both; I can play with the ball or without the ball,” Curry said. “It’s just a matter of getting that ball movement and the opportunity to be involved in the offense. ... When I get opportunities, I feel confident in what I can do.”