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Kings’ Seth Curry capitalizing on late-season opportunity

Kings' Seth Curry on his start against the Phoenix Suns, credits Caron Butler for playing improvement

Seth Curry credited veteran Caron Butler with the improvement of his game and work ethic after he started for the Kings in their victory against the Suns.
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Seth Curry credited veteran Caron Butler with the improvement of his game and work ethic after he started for the Kings in their victory against the Suns.

It took some time to get to this point, but Seth Curry is playing more minutes than he ever has in his brief NBA career.

After playing in four games in his first two seasons – one game each with the Memphis Grizzlies and Cleveland Cavaliers and two games with the Phoenix Suns – Curry has played in 36 this season with the Kings and started the past three. He scored a career-high 21 points in Monday’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

As the season winds down, one adjustment the Kings have made is starting Curry at shooting guard. He’s averaging 15.7 points on 50 percent shooting in 27.7 minutes per game as a starter. He was averaging 11.1 minutes off the bench.

“It’s coming along well,” Curry said. “I mean, just getting more confident, getting more of a feel of how to play out there, and just getting to know my teammates a little bit more. So just getting better every game.”

At 6-foot-2, Curry is the size of a point guard, but he has played both guard spots for the Kings. He’s primarily a shooting guard with Rajon Rondo and Darren Collison the top two point guards.

Rondo didn’t play Monday, so Curry played more at the point, which is fine with him.

“I’m comfortable with both,” Curry said. “I mean, I think that’s the thing about my game, I can play the one or the two. I can play off the ball, score with the ball. So I think I was just able to show that I can make plays off of the dribble, hit the pick-and-roll a little bit (Monday), so it’s helped me get some experience doing that.”

It’s coming along well. I mean, just getting more confident, getting more of a feel of how to play out there, and just getting to know my teammates a little bit more. So just getting better every game.

Kings guard Seth Curry

Coach George Karl said guards like Curry must be playmakers, noting his disappointment in that regard Monday.

“Seth had a solid game,” Karl said. “I think the whole thing for us, we needed probably our guards to make basketball plays for each other, other than what we got done (Monday).”

Curry has five assists in three starts, but he’s not a top option to handle the ball when the Kings field their regular starting lineup. On Monday, DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Rondo got the night off to rest.

Curry still is learning where he fits best on the court, especially with the starters. He had a little more freedom against Portland.

“I think I played (OK on Monday),” Curry said. “Just making plays, trying to be more consistent from game to game, and, like I said, just go back and watch this tape and try to figure out different ways to get better. I think we got better as a team as the game went along. But they played well; they made a lot of shots, so it was tough to stay with them.”

Seth had a solid game. I think the whole thing for us, we needed probably our guards to make basketball plays for each other, other than what we got done (Monday).

Kings coach George Karl

Monday’s game also presented one of the tougher defensive assignments for a young guard: the Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Karl has praised Curry’s defense this season, but because of the guard’s limited minutes, most haven’t seen what Karl has in practices.

“It was tough to guard,” Curry said of the Portland backcourt. “Two good guards. Their offense is predicated on just getting up shots and they do a good job of screening for them, so it’s tough to guard them and they know they’re going to get their shots every single game the same way. It was a good matchup and a good learning experience for us.”

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The learning continues Wednesday against the Washington Wizards’ dynamic backcourt of All-Star John Wall and Bradley Beal.

Curry is looking forward to the matchup. After all, he’s waited a long time to show he can play in the NBA.

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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