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Seth Curry is making a case for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award

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Curry has thrived since joining the Sixers, and continues to make strides in his game.

Charlotte Hornets v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Disclaimer: The stats listed below are including the first eight games of the season in which Seth Curry — along with the Sixers — were fully healthy. It is not factoring in the recent games in which the Sixers have had the majority of their roster out due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

It was met with excitement when news broke about Seth Curry joining the Philadelphia 76ers just a few months ago. The Sixers managed to acquire one of the best shooters in the entire league on a very affordable salary for the next three seasons. There was no doubt that he would bring much needed floor spacing to a team starved of it.

What most didn’t expect is how well Curry would perform in the Sixers’ young season. He’s only played eight games so far, but he isn’t just being the reliable 10-point-per-game scorer he’s been in his career before; he’s having a career season across the board. He’s been heavily featured in a Sixers’ offense that ranks in the top half of the NBA at 11th (if we only include the games where the Sixers were fully or close to healthy). Pair that with the Sixers’ top-rated defense, and you have a recipe for early season success.

But let’s get back to discussing how Seth Curry has completely thrived in the City of Brotherly Love. Most people may view his stats and simply think: He’s playing more minutes, which lead to his improved stats. While that is true to an extent, he’s improved in a lot of areas of his game which has helped him have the season he’s had thus far. His increased playing time — he’s currently averaging 30 minutes per game, up by 5.4 compared to last season — has only led to him taking an additional 0.8 shots per game. His usage percentage (17) is actually down from a season ago with Dallas (18.4) as well.

He isn’t taking much more of an offensive burden with Sixers, he’s just shooting the ball lights out from everywhere on the basketball court. Before I continue, I feel like it’s necessary to display this year and last year’s basic stats for Seth Curry:

2020-21 season (8 GP): 30 MPG, 17 PPG, 3.6 APG, 2.3 RPG, 0.8 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 1.5 TPG, 60 percent FG, 59.5 percent 3PT, 100 percent FT

2019-2020 season (64 GP): 24.6 MPG, 12.4 PPG, 1.9 APG, 2.3 RPG, 0.6 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 1.0 TPG, 50 percent FG, 45 percent 3PT, 83 percent FT

Curry’s shooting in the young season has just been flat out ridiculous, even for a talented shooter like him. He eventually will cool off a bit as time and fatigue become more of a factor (and he won’t shoot almost 60 percent from three forever), however I don’t think he’ll fall too far off from his current numbers. I think it’s more than realistic to predict he’ll average above the 14-point-per-game mark.

The basic stats don’t do him justice for how well he’s preformed, either. His True Shooting Percentage is currently leading the entire NBA. For those unfamiliar, True Shooting Percentage is a measure of shooting efficiency that includes two-point field goals, three-point field goals, and free throws. Curry is at an absurd 79.6 percent in that metric. To put that into perspective, the next highest on said list is New York’s Mitchell Robinson at 72.6; who is a seven footer that gets the majority of his shots point blank at the rim. Curry is not only shooting better than every big man in the entire league, he’s doing so while taking the majority of his shots from a much greater distance.

One of the most underrated parts of Seth Curry’s game, in my eyes, would definitely be his growth as a passer. He’s moved the ball very well as you can see from his season averages. His assist percentage is at a career-high 17.9 percent compared to last season at 11.6 percent. Doc Rivers has trusted Curry as a secondary playmaker next to Ben Simmons, which has lead to good results.

If you take all of these areas of growth within Seth Curry as a player, he makes a very compelling case for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award.

Who else in the NBA has a shot to land this award? The race has been quietly intensifying with multiple suitors around the league; including Houston’s Christian Wood, Detroit’s Jerami Grant (man, do I miss that guy), and Boston’s Jaylen Brown. Each of these before mentioned players all have a solid case for the award.

Seth Curry, on the other hand, might have taken a bigger jump in his game than any of the players listed above. We are witnessing Curry go from a productive bench player to solidifying his status as one of the best shooters in the entire NBA while taking on a large, starting role in Philadelphia. While he may not beat out some of the stiff competition for this award, he definitely deserves to be in the conversation.