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What to do at the two: the Mavs conundrum with Curry and Matthews

This upcoming NBA season is going to be interesting on plenty of fronts for the Dallas Mavericks.

First, you have rookie Dennis Smith Jr., the potentially brightest Dallas rookie since 1999, taking the floor in hopes of giving Rick Carlisle’s flow offense a little more oomph.

Second, you have the forging of a new defensive identity behind blossoming athletic center Nerlens Noel. The 23-year old’s potential is immense.

Third, there’s the continued emergence of Harrison Barnes, who won’t have to shoulder as much of an offensive burden this year with the addition of Smith Jr., whose very presence can unlock the shooters around him. Barnes may still average 20 points per game this season but it won’t be because he was the only one capable (besides Dirk) of doing it.

However, here’s an interesting look at the 2017-18 season that not a whole lot are talking about anymore: Who is the Mavericks’ shooting guard of the future?

Seth Curry is entering a contract year and that should excite Mavericks fans. Per Bobby Karalla of, Curry averaged 15.4 points per game on 50.6 shooting from the field, 44.9 percent (!?) from deep and 89.2 percent at the line in 36 games as Dallas’ starting shooting guard.

If you take that trend and calculate it for the whole season, the Mavs’ have something special, but that’s a big “if”. Curry isn’t going to be cheap to retain next summer either.

On the other side of this coin you have Wesley Matthews, the literal heart and soul of Dallas’ renewed defensive identity and a cultural cornerstone. For as much flak as he’s getting about missed shots last year, he shot a decent percentage from deep (36.3 percent) despite shooting under 40 percent from the field as a whole. He also was forced to play the small-ball 3 spot a lot, putting him at a massive size/rebounding disadvantage.

Matthews is set to make $17.8 million next season and has a player option for $18.6 million in 2018-19 that he’ll likely use. Those amounts seem to be larger than anything the Mavericks will have to shell out to retain Curry in the offseason.

It’s an interesting question. Curry clearly isn’t the stalwart Matthews is on defense, but the argument can be made that Seth is the more dynamic offensive threat. What do the Mavs’ value? Do they see Curry’s role as a dynamite sixth-man or the starting 2 for the next five years? Bear in mind, Seth turns 27 years-old this month.

Smith Jr.’s presence shouldn’t be understated here as his expected impact will go a long way to determining the effectiveness of both players, particularly Matthews. Last season, Matthews had to create more for himself due to the dearth of injuries Dallas suffered. This coming season figures to see him play more of a spot-up role where he could be much more effective combined with the effort he exerts defensively guarding the other team’s best scorer each night.

What will Dallas do with it’s two talented wings? It’s another reason why the season can’t start quickly enough.

I'm Zack Cunningham, a broadcast journalism major from Abilene Christian University's class of 2008. I've lived in Texas for 28 of my 31 years on this Earth and I've followed the Mavericks since 1998. My first memory of them was the 2001 playoffs and being extremely happy when they beat the Jazz, but sad when they lost to the Spurs in five games in the conference semifinals. However, seeing Dirk drop 42 stands out to me, punctuated by his dunk in garbage time. I covered high school sports for the Cleburne Times-Review from 2008-12 before moving into the tech industry. Most recently, in 2015 covered the Mavericks for the Fanatic briefly before moving to work with Mike Fisher at I am married to my beautiful wife, Jessica, and have been for just over five years now. We live in Carrollton with our dog, Zara, and cat, Drake. I'm looking forward to covering them again this season with the Fanatic!

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