With Seth Curry, it’s not his offense that concerns the Dallas Mavericks. It’s his defense.
The Mavs are fully aware that Curry can fill up the basket with the best of them. But they don’t know if he has the disposition to play enough solid defense that will keep him on the court.
That’s why the plan the Mavs established for Curry entering training camp was for him to concentrate on being a more productive defensive player.
“He’s got to make it a top priority,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s a better point guard and ballhandler than I expected, but really what he should focus on is his defense.
“I think that’s going to be the key for him being able to take the quantum leap as a player, and I think he can do it.”
Curry was at his defensive best Saturday night as he picked up two steals and blocked a shot during the preseason opener against the New Orleans Pelicans. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder was fighting through screens and getting physical with whoever he was guarding.
“I was focused on the defense and I felt like I made some good plays defensively,” Curry said. “And that’s where I’m trying to make the biggest strides in the preseason to show the coaching staff that they can trust me on the defensive end.”
Curry certainly made enough plays on the defensive end during the 116-102 loss to the Pelicans to impress Carlisle.
“I thought his defense picked up as the game went along,” Carlisle said. “We know he is a guy that can explode at the offensive end.”
Curry’s offensive explosion led to 12 points in 18 minutes. He was 5-of-11 from the field, including 2-of-3 from 3-point territory, and added three assists and four rebounds.
“I thought he played great,” said forward Harrison Barnes, who also scored 12 points in 18 minutes. “He knocked down shots, he was getting in the lane and creating some shots for other people.”
The Mavs hope Curry will continue picking his spots at 7:30 p.m. Monday when they host the Charlotte Hornets at American Airlines Center. More important, they’re hoping his defense continues to improve.