Kyle Nelson Seth Curry
has been on NBA scouts' radars since his outstanding freshman season at Liberty. Since transferring to Duke, scouts have had the opportunity to see Curry play in a variety of roles on and off of the ballwith mixed results.
Finally able to play his natural position at shooting guard, Curry has emerged as a deadly perimeter scorer for the Blue Devils during his senior season, averaging 16 points per game in a role that will only expand following Ryan Kelly
's foot injury. While he's undoubtedly an outstanding college player, the jury is still out on just how good of a NBA prospect he is at this stage.
He certainly does not look the part, standing only 6'2 with a decent 185-pound frame, well undersized for an NBA shooting guard and without much in the way of length to compensate. He is not particularly quick or explosive either, as he possesses a below average athletic profile even at this level. That being said, he does maximize his ability due to his instincts, skill-level, and savvy, which allow him to overcome many of his physical deficiencies at this level.
On the offensive end, it is easy to see how much Curry's role has changed from his junior to senior season. After being utilized as more of a Jon Scheyer
type lead ball-handler and facilitator earlier on in his junior year, he's now no longer asked to bring the ball up the floor and initiate Duke's offense thanks to the emergence of Quinn Cook
. In the half-court, he finds most of his offensive touches in isolation sets and as the ball handler out of the pick-and-roll.
He still sees nearly a quarter of his possessions in spot-up settings, but he has found his shooting stroke once again, after falling off in that area last year. According to Synergy Sports Tech, 72.2% of his half-court shots are jumpers (as opposed to 90% during his junior season), with 10% coming off of runners with 18% around the basket.
Curry is making 41.3% of his three point attempts and ranks once again as one of the best shooters in our database. Though his shooting motion is slightly unorthodox as he gets a lot of elevation on his jumper his mechanics are outstanding, both fluid and quick. Furthermore, he can get his shot off against just about anybody at this level, being equally adept at shooting off of the dribble, guarded or unguarded, and from a standstill.
Most improved, however, is his ability to create off of the dribble, as he shows very solid ball-handling skills and increased aggressiveness to accompany his already stellar instincts. While his first step is just average, he is able to use a variety of hesitation moves, jukes, and fakes to get by his man. Though his lack of explosiveness limits him around the basket and he still favors his right hand, he shows good touch around the rim while showing flashes of mastering a floater.
While Curry likely lacks the strength and athleticism to finish consistently around the basket in the NBA, it is worth noting that he is averaging a career high 5.3 free throw attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted this season, a testament to his improved aggressiveness and ability to draw contact in the lane. He also has a very well-developed mid-range game, with the all-around skills to find offense at 53.1% 2FG at any spot inside of, in addition to beyond the arc.
His improvement as a scorer has come at the expense of his development as a point guard, however, as Quinn Cook
has taken control of the point for the foreseeable future, and it's generally accepted at this stage that he's more comfortable playing off the ball. While Curry is adept at creating out of the pick-and-roll, it is primarily in a scoring capacity and though he still shows solid vision at times (and rarely turns the ball over), his role (and strengths) dictates that he prioritizes his own offense over his teammates'.
Another significant question mark comes on the defensive end. Curry plays with excellent focus, effort, and intensity, but lacks the lateral quickness, length, and size to consistently stay in front of NBA caliber athletes at this level. While he usually defends opposing team's shooting guards, it's safe to say that with his average physical tools that won't be anywhere near as easy at the NBA level.
Ultimately, Curry's prospects at the next level are mixed. On the one hand, sharpshooting undersized collegiate combo-guards such as Brian Roberts
and Daniel Gibson
carved out niches in the NBA despite their lack of ideal size and athleticism. These players are the exception to the rule, however, and it will be up to Curry to prove that he can overcome his physical deficiencies. He is very much a tweener without standout strength, length, or athleticism and with legitimate questions about how he'll transition on both offensive and defensive ends at the next level.
Scouts will consider Curry's weaknesses alongside some very intriguing strengths, however, as he is a lights out shooter, a top notch scorer, and a winner with excellent intangibles and work ethic. Furthermore, he has played whatever role Duke has required him to, suggesting that he could possibly transition into a player capable of handling backup minutes in specific lineups in the NBA. For these reasons, teams drafting in the second round will have to take a long look at Curry, especially if he ramps up his production in the wake of Ryan Kelly
's injury. Even if the NBA is not ultimately in the cards, Curry looks to have a long and fruitful career playing at a high level overseas.