Summer League is an amazing event, the Las Vegas League in particular. Everyone has something to prove and is willing to do what it takes to show they belong and the Dallas Mavericks‘ roster was no different. One of the best and worst things about any of the Summer Leagues is that the talent participating is not a fair representation of NBA Basketball competition. Some of that was mentioned in “How Should We Value Justin Anderson’s Summer League Play?” Some of these guys are literally fighting for their career. Jonathan Gibson fought with success, he’s signed to a three year (though mostly non-guaranteed) contract. As of now, Perry Ellis has not had that kind of success.
During this series we’ll take a look at Mavs players under contract that showed us something during their time in Summer League.
Summer League will now be referred to as SL. Just to save 10 characters, even though these aren’t tweets… Ok just to save typing time…
Final Round: Dorian Finney-Smith
The most interesting case for the Mavericks is the three year mostly Non-Guaranteed contract they extended to Dorian Finney-Smith (DFS). DraftExpress.com had him projected as the 46th pick in this past NBA Draft, which is coincidentally where the Mavericks chose AJ Hammons. The undrafted four year player from Florida and Virginia Tech was looked at as a potential 3-and-D player and the Mavs gave him every chance to show that. DFS averaged 22.2 minutes per game in Vegas which was third for the Mavs behind the aforementioned Justin Anderson and Jonathan Gibson. DFS started all six games he played for the Mavs but he also logged significant time with bench players/non-starters.
Per DraftExpress and Synergy Sports 45% of DFS’ field goals in the half court came on catch-and-shoot jumpers. Even though his stroke has a slight hitch at the point when he pulls the ball behind his head, he can still knock down some shots.
But (there’s always a but), he only connected on 3 of 13 threes during SL and 4 of 25 total field goals.
DFS has all the tools to be a solid defender. He’s listed at 6’7” with a 6’11.75 wingspan, and a 8’9” standing reach. (He has long arms). Add foot speed to his length as well…
He stays right with Hunter and forces him to take a bad shot at the end of the shot clock. (By the way, forcing a bad shot at the end of the shot clock is a theme during SL). His physical tools also lends itself to some great plays like this swat against Chicago.
Then again against Golden State, he gets beat off the dribble but recovers nicely for this stuff.
This isn’t a quality that gets many fans excited but it needs to be said that DFS makes the “right play” every time. He doesn’t force anything or try to be something he’s not either. Like this touch pass to AJ Hammons off the roll.
After watching hours of SL games (I’m ok I promise) the expected play was for DFS to just take the shot as soon as he caught the pass. Then against the Raptors passes up a couple shots before dishing to Hammons again for an easy bucket.
Despite some of these flashes of brilliance DFS has a lot to prove before he can secure a roster spot on the Mavericks or even regular playing time. Preseason should give him another chance to prove that. DFS’ focus should be becoming a solid 3-and-D role player, but because of that he disappeared for stretches during SL games. Those “flashes” were few and far between (we may have just shown you all of them) but if he can start to string together some of those plays he may have a place on this team.
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