Last season wasn’t a great one for Duke or its senior guard Seth Curry. The team as a whole never seemed to materialize or get comfortable with what they were or what they were attempting to do. Curry in particularly seemed to be stifled from the get go. Going into the season he was expected to move into more of a ball handler, point guard role and it was obvious from the opening game against Belmont that, that wasn’t his game.
Curry was expected to not only be a point guard but to an extent, the Blue Devils were still counting on him to be the same
play maker he had been at Liberty and showed glimpses of during his first year in Durham.
The only problem was that last year’s team was not designed for Curry to succeed. That wasn’t the coaches fault but rather, and to be honest, it was a product of who was on the roster. Now before I go any further I want to make it clear that I’m not trying to bash former Blue Devil Austin Rivers, but lets be real, the experiment with a player who had the game had he did just didn’t work and it especially didn’t work for Curry.
Rivers demanded the ball and being the Blue Devils best scoring threat on the perimeter, Curry and pretty much everyone else took a back seat and many times they just stood there and watched Rivers work. As a result he offense became stagnant and possessions did not always involve multiple players.
As a result, a player that Duke was counting on being a guy that could put up between 15 and 20 points a night only ended up averaging 13 points a game. His three point shooting percentage was down more than 5 percent from the previous year. His field goal shooting as a whole was about the same but Curry was not a focal point of the offense and was certainly not aggressive with Rivers on the floor.
Curry is the type of player who has developed a runner and an ability, to an extent to get in the lane to pass or finish. He just didn’t do that last season, mainly because Rivers was the best player at putting the ball on the floor.
With Rivers short stay in Durham over the focus of the Blue Devils offense has shifted bust still Curry isn’t the focal point, Mason Plumlee is. That said, Curry has jumped out to a very good start and his 23 point performance against Kentucky on Tuesday night has to make Blue Devil fans excited.
Curry showed the type of aggressive play making ability Duke was hoping to see last year but never did. He hit clutch shots and showed no hesitation in taking them. He made play after play down the stretch and showed the kind of leadership that the Blue Devils were missing last season.
It is way too early to know if this will hold up but Curry’s numbers are up significantly over last year. Can he maintain the pace he is at? Perhaps not, especially since he is battling a lower leg injury that is likely to nag him all year.
Curry has shown few ill effects from that injury so far, and if Duke can manage that injury and can get that kind of production from him all season then this Blue Devil team will be a team to be reckoned with come March. Still even if his early torrid pace does slow down, it is still comforting to know that Curry has the ability and more importantly the confidence to make the types of plays he did against Kentucky.
The Blue Devils can rely on him, but more importantly they also have learned that one player can’t be the entire team. Against Kentucky all but one of the starters scored in double figures. Seven players combined for the team’s 75 points. That kind of balance didn’t exist last season.
Curry though is the spoon that stirs the pot and as long as he is in the mix and as long as he stays healthy and with all the shadows gone, he is looking like he will finally become the difference maker Duke fans have been hoping for since he transferred from Liberty.
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