Duke Basketball: Seth Curry catching fire from downtown for Portland lately

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Fantasy gurus are now officially back to keeping a close eye on a former Duke basketball sharpshooter who has been deadly from long distance the past few weeks.

In his first year with the Portland Trail Blazers after signing as a free agent over the summer, Seth Curry — who drained buckets from downtown better than most during his three years as a Duke basketball player at the beginning of this decade — hasn’t seen nearly as much action as he did two seasons ago when he was with the Dallas Mavericks.

But that’s less a reflection of any sudden flaws in his game — heck, he’s shooting .512 from the beyond the arc this season — and more a reflection of his decision to leave a cellar-dweller and join a proven winner.

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As a member of the 2016-17 Mavericks squad — he sat out the entire 2017-18 season after undergoing surgery to repair a stress fracture in his lower left leg — the prototypical shooting guard competed for minutes amongst a crop of talent that was only talented enough to win 33 games.

His far-more-talented current team may match that win total by the end of January (the Trail Blazers sit fifth in the loaded Western Conference with a 22-16 record).

As a result of increased competition from his current co-workers — difficult to blend into a backcourt rotation that includes scoring machines Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum — his playing time this season (16.9 minutes per game) is barely more than half of what it was two seasons ago (29.0 minutes per game).

And his scoring average is less than half (5.5 compared to 12.8).

As of late, though, Curry has been making a strong case to see an increased role.

During Portland’s last outing, a 113-108 overtime victory on the road Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings, the sixth-year league veteran dropped a season-high 18 points (the most he has scored in a game since a week before Duke fans last had to suffer through UNC winning a national championship). His performance included splashing four of six attempts from deep and snagging three steals.

Five nights prior, during a 110-109 overtime thriller of a win at home over his older brother, Steph, and the rest of the Golden State Warriors, Seth was on the floor at the end of regulation after scoring 11 points and knocking down three of his five 3-point attempts.

Across his past six games, Curry is averaging 9.8 points.

Sure, that’s still not as high as his average two seasons ago. But it may be just the start of an upward trend.

After all, he’s had one of the hottest hands from downtown in the league as of late. Across his past 11 appearances, 23 of his 39 long-range missiles have found the bottom of the net.

That’s 59 percent.

And nobody can ask for better than that.

ALSO READ: Duke’s top five shooting guards of the Coach K era

Curry’s next chance to continue to his hot streak will be on Friday when the Blazers host the Oklahoma City Thunder at 10:30 p.m. EST (on ESPN).

Next. Six resolutions for Blue Devils in 2019. dark

Stay tuned to Ball Durham all season long for more updates of highlight performances by former Blue Devils in the NBA.