DALLAS — You might want to get used to Seth Curry starting at point guard for the Dallas Mavericks. He certainly aced the first night of his audition.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle opted to insert center Nerlens Noel in the starting lineup Thursday night, bumping rookie point guard Yogi Ferrell to the bench and sliding the rest of the starters down a position. Curry responded to his new role by more than holding his own against perennial All-Star Chris Paul to play a key role in the Mavs’ 97-95 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
This wasn’t a case of going big to match up against the Clippers. It’s a matter of figuring out whether this is the starting five of the immediate future for the Mavs.
“We’ve got to look at Curry at point with a really conventional team out there,” Carlisle said after Curry scored a game-high 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting and dished out four assists. “We’re going to give this a look. I don’t know how many games it’s going to be. It may be the rest of the year, it may not.”
If Curry has his way, this experiment will extend into next season. He’s proud of his ability to play both backcourt positions — and has played well as Dallas’ starting shooting guard the past couple of months — but Curry embraces the opportunity to have the ball in his hands every play.
“I like being involved in plays,” said Curry, who had cooled off recently after a sizzling scoring stretch coming out of the All-Star break. “At certain times when you play the 2, you can not touch the ball for four or five possessions. That’s not getting me going energy-wise. I like bringing the ball up the court, feeling like I’m involved, then getting off the ball some, too.”
To be clear, the Mavs aren’t asking Curry to morph into a pass-first point guard like Jason Kidd.
“Our system is meant for the 1 to be really aggressive,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “That’s when Yogi was great, when he came off making all those shots when we got him. The 1 has the ball in his hands a lot. Obviously we run some plays, but some of those plays only work if the 1 comes off and looks to score and sucks the big up and makes plays for themselves or others. We always want the [point guards] to be aggressive and score, and [Curry] was fantastic for us tonight.”
Can Curry be consistently good enough for the Mavs to be comfortable going into next season as their starting point guard? They plan to find out.