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2017 Mavs Training Camp Profile: Dorian Finney-Smith

2017 Mavs Training Camp Profile: Dorian Finney-Smith

Every NBA team needs a grinder on the defensive end of the floor that has the ability to contribute at least few points a night. Most of these defenders carve out roles on their teams because they can harass the opponents first or second best player and then knock down a corner three. Wesley Matthews is the first Maverick that comes to mind when thinking of “3 and D” players. Dorian Finney-Smith needs to make sure he is the second.

2016 – 2017 Season in Review

Dorian Finney-Smith went undrafted in the 2016 NBA draft after a four year college career, with the last three at the University of Florida. After receiving a training camp invite from Dallas he managed to battle his way onto the roster. At Florida he was known as a tenacious defender with the ability to shoot. He averaged 36% from three over the course of his collegiate career, with a high of 42% his junior year . In his senior season Finney-Smith was second in the SEC with 300 total rebounds as well as second in the SEC with 2.2 defensive win shares.

At 6 foot 8 inches and 220 pounds, DFS seemed that he could be the bigger version of what the Mavs wanted Justin Anderson to be. After the season began Finney-Smith managed to jump ahead of Anderson on the depth chart and went on to start 32 games for the Mavs. In 20 minutes per game he averaged 4.3 points and 2.7 rebounds while shooting 29% from three. Although these numbers are modest, he is one of those players that contributes in ways outside of statistics. He was often asked to guard the teams second best player as well as rotate through guarding positions 1 through 4 while on the court. Making the opposing player uncomfortable, altering their shot in mid-air, and correctly choosing to fight through or run under screens are defensive skills that the best NBA defenders have, even if they do not wind up on the box score. Finney-Smith was able to carve out his role because he did those things while also rebounding and hustling.  Check out the video below to see the type of defensive grit and grind he plays with that would make any Memphis Grizzlies fan proud.

 

2017-2018 Season Outlook

After Justin Anderson was shipped off to Philadelphia at the trade deadline last year  for Nerlens Noel it seemed to solidify Finney-Smith as the first option off the bench to replace Matthews or the defensive compliment to Matthews whenever DFS started. Although it appears that he has the role locked up, he may be facing competition for his role in the rotation from training camp invites Brandon Ashley and PJ Dozier. Ashley poses the biggest threat to Finney-Smith’s role, however Ashley hasn’t been able to stick on an NBA roster since going undrafted in the 2015 draft. Dozier is an undrafted rookie and is slightly smaller than DFS, plus he cannot shoot as well as DFS. So in all reality Dorian Finney-Smith’s biggest competition on the Mavs roster for his role this upcoming season is Dorian-Finney Smith.

As the highlight video above shows, Finney-Smith has the “D” part of the “3 and D” player down. Of course, there is always room for improvement, but for an undrafted rookie to start 32 games as a defensive presence speaks for itself. The area of concern for DFS is his offensive ability. In an interview with Earl K. Sneed Finney-Smith mentions what he will need to do in his second year, saying that “it’s probably going to be the biggest summer of my life, knowing the expectations that come with it. You know, I played 81 games and I started almost 40, so coaches and everybody see the talent. Now, I’ve just got to get a little bit more consistent with my shot, start putting it down a little bit more and don’t forget what got me here, and that’s defense.” He specifically points out that his shot needs to be more consistent, something that will need to happen in order for him to truly be a “3 and D” player for the Mavs. If he manages to get his 29% three point average from last year up to 33-36% then he will be even more valuable to a Mavs team that needs help on defense and could use a reliable option on the three point line that only needs about 5 shots a night.

A good place to show the results of his off season work was during the summer league. Instead, he did the opposite. He stayed true to his self as a defensive presence by averaging roughly 6 rebounds and 2 steals per game. But his shot did not show improvement. In Las Vegas he shot a paltry 19%% from three, making 5 out of 26 of the threes he attempted. Surely that was not what the front office and Coach Carlisle wanted to see in their second year “3 and D” player. Maybe it was because he was more of a “featured” guy in Vegas and his game is not yet ready for that roll. Having guys like Dirk, Barnes, and Smith around him during the season might help with his numbers, but he will need to vastly improve on his summer league shooting if he wants to play as much or more than he did last year. The Mavs need someone to play the role that DeShawn Stevenson played in the Mavs 2011 NBA Finals, a gritty defender who can guard the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Paul George and knock down a couple back breaking threes. Dorian Finney-Smith has the tools to become that player, all he has to do is keep improving his shot this season.

 

Staff writer covering the Dallas Mavericks | I was in Miami when the Mavs won in 2011 and I was in the building to see Dirk's 30K point. I follow the Mavs and NBA religiously, with the Cowboys and Rangers sprinkled in. Outside of sports I like The Office, cooking, and good beer.

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