• Bringing in Seth Curry doesn’t make letting walk Ed Davis any more palatable, nor explain the curious decision to guarantee Jake Layman‘s contract after non-tendering Pat Connaughton at a similar price. Acquiring another guard only exacerbates existing positional redundancy rather than filling a hole on the roster, too. But for a two-year, $5.8 million deal, the Portland Trail Blazers certainly could have done far worse than Curry, who finally emerged from under his older brother’s shadow two seasons ago before succumbing to injury that forced him to miss all of 2017-18 – and made him available at a bargain in the first place.

    Curry, who turns 28 in August, established himself as a bonafide NBA rotation player in 2016-17, his first and only season with the Dallas Mavericks. He shot 42.5 percent from 3-point range on 4.6 attempts per game, an impressive number that nonetheless fails to paint an accurate portrayal of his true ability. Curry connected on a scorching 44.9 percent of his pull-up triples two seasons ago, per NBA.com/stats, the league’s second-best mark behind Troy Daniels. His accuracy was stellar regardless of how many times he put the ball on the floor before launching, too. Curry went 32-of-74, good for 43.2 percent, on 3-pointers attempted after he took at least three dribbles, evidence of his underrated ability with the ball in his hands.

    The Duke product is hardly just a standstill shooter. Rick Carlisle, in dire need of perimeter dynamism, empowered Curry as a ball handler like no prior coach ever had, unearthing a far more versatile offensive performer than anyone realized. Only Tony Parker and LeBron James shot better than Curry’s 50.0 percent from the field in pick-and-roll action, and his .99 points per possession on such plays ranked in the 88th percentile overall. He posted a career-best 19.0 assist percentage, too, a number not on par with point guards, but definitely acceptable for a score-first player who spent a lot of time as a de facto floor general.

    At 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, noticeably less chiseled than his older brother, Curry looks the part of a defensive liability. While he can be attacked by bigger, more athletic guards and is always susceptible to mismatches after a switch, he’s still hardly the sieve on defense his body and reputation suggest. Curry’s effort and intensity never wanes, allowing him to play bigger than his size, and he has extremely quick hands. Most of all, though, he’s an extremely smart and instinctual defender, rarely behind the play and often in front of it.

    Indeed, it will be tough for Terry Stotts to slot Curry next to Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum against many teams, and that trio will always be unplayable for extended stretches should the Blazers advance deep into the playoffs. His addition doesn’t allow Portland greater lineup flexibility, nor address the need for another talented scorer to put alongside its star guards in crunch time. But for just more than half of the tax-payer’s mid-level exception, the Blazers have replaced Shabazz Napier with a superior player, one better suited to Stotts’ offensive attack – health provided, of course.

    Curry’s agent told NBC Sports Northwest that his client has been cleared to play for “about three weeks,” though other outlets are reporting Curry was issued a clean bill of health earlier in the summer. Considering he was first sidelined with a stress reaction in his tibia during last year’s preseason slate and didn’t go under the knife until February, it’s prudent to view Curry’s injury-status with caution. Clearly, Neil Olshey has enough confidence in his health to use a portion of Portland’s only surefire team-building chip on a player who never made it back to the floor last season despite a minor initial diagnosis. Only time will tell whether that trust is paid off.

    In a vacuum, Curry is obviously worth the risk associated with a deal that pays him less than $3 million annually. Shooting has never been more valuable or at more of a premium than today, and he’s the type of marksman who can make teams pay from all over the floor, with or without the ball. It’s hard to imagine Curry coughing up open triples the way Napier and Connaughton did again and again down the stretch of 2017-18. Don’t be fooled by DeMarcus Cousins taking the full tax-payer’s mid-level from the Golden State Warriors, either. Portland was never going to get any highly sought-after player, let alone a wing, to come to town for a discount; bargain hunting for players with boom potential makes the most sense given this team’s financial constraints and need for helpful change.

    Does Curry move the needle for the Blazers all by himself? Of course not. He’s just a useful part of the machine as opposed to its cog. After watching Portland’s surprisingly successful bench get decimated over the last few days, though, fans should be heartened that Curry is coming aboard – especially given the terms of his contract.

Fantasy News

  • Ricky Rubio - G - Utah Jazz

    Ricky Rubio put up 17 points with four rebounds, nine assists and four steals in a loss to the Rockets in Game 2 on Wednesday.

    He shot 7-of-17 from the field and had the unfortunate matchup against James Harden for much of this game. Harden hit him with a crossover that sent Rubio to the floor, but he missed the shot. The Jazz have been getting good performances from Rubio and Derrick Favors, but the inconsistent play from the remainder of their roster has left them with a two-game series deficit. The Jazz are heading back to Utah for Game 3 as they will try to steal their first game of the series.

  • Donovan Mitchell - G - Utah Jazz

    Donovan Mitchell had another poor shooting night as he went 5-of-18 from the field on his way to 11 points in a Game 2 blowout loss to the Rockets on Wednesday.

    Mitchell shot just 1-of-8 from 3-point territory and 0-of-2 from the stripe. He also had five fouls and four turnovers while playing a team-high 37 minutes. He did add six assists and two steals, but this was a disappointing performance from the second-year rising star. Eric Gordon has been outshining him, but Mitchell has a chance to rectify things as the Jazz head home for Game 3.

  • Derrick Favors - F/C - Utah Jazz

    Derrick Favors played well in his 22 minutes of action in a Game 2 loss to the Rockets on Wednesday, with 14 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.

    Although Favors is putting up good numbers in such limited minutes, you should not expect to see him go above 25 minutes at all in this series. He shot 7-of-11 from the field and missed both of his attempts from deep. Also, the Rockets play a lot of small ball as PJ Tucker is their power forward, so Favors is often at a defensive disadvantage when on the court.

  • Rudy Gobert - C - Utah Jazz

    Rudy Gobert did not have a great showing in Wednesday's Game 2 loss to the Rockets as he managed just 11 points and 12 rebounds on 3-of-6 shooting.

    He made five of his seven attempts from the stripe and added one assist and two steals to the stat sheet. He did not record a block in this one which is rare to see from Gobert as he averaged 2.3 blocks per game on the season. Clint Capela has been defending Gobert well, which is making things a lot tougher on the Jazz to score and rebound the ball. Gobert will look to bounce back as the Jazz head home for Game 3.

  • Royce O'Neale - F - Utah Jazz

    Royce O'Neale played well on Wednesday in a Game 2 blowout loss to the Rockets as he had 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting with three triples and four assists.

    O'Neale stepped up as Joe Ingles managed just seven points on 3-of-8 shooting with five steals. He saw 27 minutes of action in this one after seeing just 15 minutes in Game 1. He has guarded James Harden on numerous possessions thus far and it seems as though Harden goes at him every chance he gets. This may be the best game we see from O'Neale all series, but he has given the Jazz some solid run off the bench thus far.

  • James Harden - G - Houston Rockets

    James Harden dominated the Jazz in Game 2 on Wednesday as he triple-doubled with 32 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.

    Aside from his eight turnovers, there was not much to complain about Harden’s performance. Rather, there were elements of Harden’s showing that deserve high praise such as his six triples, one block and toughness throughout the entire game. He would not back down from Ricky Rubio and actually crossed him up in the first half. The Beard is continuing his MVP-like season into the playoffs, which is no surprise given how truly great his 2018-19 campaign was.

  • Chris Paul - G - Houston Rockets

    Chris Paul put up 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting with two steals and two blocks in a blowout win over the Jazz on Wednesday.

    He made just one of his six 3-point attempts and turned the ball over six times. However, he did add four rebounds and three assists to the box score as well. James Harden is clearly the dominating force for the Rockets, but Paul's stability will be crucial for the team to continue their playoff success.

  • Eric Gordon - G - Houston Rockets

    Eric Gordon outplayed Donovan Mitchell once again in Game 2 as the Rockets beat the Jazz 118-98 on Wednesday.

    Gordon scored 16 points on an efficient 6-of-11 shooting and 3-of-6 shooting from long-range. He also contributed one rebound, two steals and one block to the stat sheet. Gordon is tasked with guarding Mitchell, which is the toughest defensive assignment on the Rockets and he is thriving in that role. He has held him to 30 points on 37 shots in the series thus far. This series could potentially end in four games if Gordon continues to play at this high of a level.

  • PJ Tucker - F - Houston Rockets

    PJ Tucker drilled four triples on his way to 16 points in a blowout win over the Jazz in Game 2 on Wednesday.

    He added two steals and four boards while converting five of his eight shots from the field. The Rockets have confidence in Tucker to fire from deep and he proved them right as he drilled four of his seven attempts from 3-point territory. Surrounding James Harden with 3-and-D wing players has been their formula for success and Tucker fits that mold perfectly. When Tucker is hitting his shots, the Rockets are likely to dominate the way they did tonight.

  • Clint Capela - C - Houston Rockets

    Clint Capela did not have to do much in the Rockets’ Game 2 blowout win over the Jazz on Wednesday as he had just seven points and 10 rebounds with three blocks.

    He shot 3-of-4 from the field and added one assist and one steal to the box score. Although the numbers were down in this one, he did what he had to do in his 29 minutes of action as he kept Rudy Gobert in check as well. Capela is an important cog in the Rockets’ formula for success, so even when he is not scoring as much he is still impacting the game in other ways.