The Duke coaches and training staff have been playing a delicate balancing act with Seth Curry’s fragile right leg the entire season. Coach K revealed recently that he received a call from head trainer Jose Fonseca in September with the worry that Curry may not be able to play at all this year. Curry has clearly fought through pain to average 32 minutes a game, only missing one game early in the season. What Fonseca and fellow trainer Nicholas Potter have accomplished this year with Curry and Ryan Kelly has been nothing short of amazing. While we don’t, and won’t, ever know the details of the training program employed by Fonseca and Potter, there is only so much they are able to do for Curry that rest can’t. With tournament play coming up, this issue is going to rear its ugly head. Let’s look at how rest (or the lack thereof) has affected his play.
Breaking down the games into two categories (Four days or greater and less than four days) will allow us to approximate how well Curry will be able to perform in both the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. In Greensboro, there will be up to three games on consecutive days while in the NCAA Tournament, Duke will play two games in three days and then have four days in between the Round of 32 and the Sweet 16.
In 17 games with four or more days of rest, Curry has averaged 18.8 points per game. In 13 games with less than four days of rest, Curry has averaged 14.8 points per game. It’s clear that with Curry’s injury and inability to practice, the amount of rest Curry gets directly impacts his ability to put up points. Let’s look a little deeper and try to figure out just how much time off helps the 2nd team All-American.
Looking at the breakdown above, the most glaring number to jump out at me is that Curry is actually playing more minutes per game when he’s on less than four days of rest than when he gets at least four days. It’s a curious number, and one I didn’t expect when I started looking at the splits. This shows that Curry is able to fight through the pain no matter how many days he has between games, and that there is some room for the Duke coaching staff to give him rest. See the graph below for more detailed info.
As shown above, Curry’s points per game dip by four when he has less than four days of rest. It’s obvious that he’s not as productive when forced to play more frequently, but these averages don’t show the whole picture. Consider that in one of the games Curry played with more than four days of rest (at Miami) he put up an 0-fer, significantly bringing down his numbers. In fact, his three lowest-scoring games came with at least four days of rest in between. Seems that it’s feast or famine for Seth when he has good rest as his four highest-scoring games came in those times as well.
Seth’s Offensive Rating dips by about six points when he has less rest, and all of his shooting stats dip by around the same margin. So not only does his production dip, but he’s less efficient as well. While his playing time stays about the same, Curry takes 2 more shots a game when he’s more rested.
I decided to break down the number of 2-pointers and 3-pointers Seth is attempting in these splits to see if there was some correlation between the types of shots he takes under different rest scenarios. I was surprised to find that he takes about 5 percentage points more 3-pointers when he’s more tired, as this is not an advantageous shot to be taking when your legs are more run down. However, it’s likely tougher for him to get a step on his defender without as much of a jump. When Duke is playing more frequently in the tournament, I hope these numbers are reversed.
Note: While I was doing research for this Andrew Beaton ran a similar article over at Chronicle Sports. Check his out when you’re done with this one.
This article was originally published at http://DukeHoopBlog.com. If you are interested in sharing your website's content with SCACCHoops.com, Contact Us.