Although the Dallas Mavs struggle to draft quality players (not named Luka Doncic), Dorian Finney-Smith represents the franchise's uncanny ability to discover talent. An undrafted prospect in 2016, the Florida alum found a home during the rebuilding 2016-2017 season in Dallas.
Even in the down years of Dallas, Finney-Smith stood out as the Mavericks' best defender.
With five seasons under his belt, 202 appearances in the starting lineup out of 314 total games played, No.10 is one of the longest-tenured Mavericks, second to Dwight Powell. There is no doubt Finney-Smith fits the mold in Dallas.
Known earlier in his career as the defensive irritant, Finney-Smith graduated to a 3-and-D type the past two years. Last season, he averaged 39 percent on five attempts from the 3-point area. Doncic and the undrafted veteran connected on 74 assists, according to the NBA's website.
Finney-Smith's numbers indicate a dependable beneficiary of the two-time NBA All-Star. Aside from Doncic's passes, the 28-year-old forward took advantage of his teammates' selflessness, as 80 percent of his baskets came off assists.
Mavs Have Big Plans For Young Players Under Kidd
The Dallas Mavericks will look to prioritize the development of young players around Luka Doncic under new coach Jason Kidd.
‘NBA Preseason Champs’? Why it Matters for Mavs & Kidd
“Preseason champs”? We’ll actually be impressed if we can still say that “undefeated” word next weekend after the regular-season’s tough, first road trip to Atlanta and Toronto.
New Start: Dennis Smith Jr. Makes Roster
“I was happy that he was able to have the opportunity to show what he’s been doing,” said coach Chauncey Billups of Smith Jr.,
Withstanding the perception of his offense deriving only from a stationary state, Finney-Smith experienced success driving to the basket. The undrafted veteran converted 26 of 31 dunks and 59 out of 95 layups per NBA's tracking data. Yes, the 3-point shot works wonders, but optionality makes for a fluid offense.
Dribbling isn't a strength, but he still managed to find ways in the restricted area. Perhaps obtaining ball-handling skills is the next step in Finney-Smith's career improvements. Expecting stellar results at this point in his career doesn't make logical sense, but there is always room for improvement.
Expectations for Dorian Finney-Smith
Coming off a hectic offseason and another starless free agency, the prospects of Finney-Smith being knocked out of the starting lineup seems unlikely. Suppose Finney-Smith continues his career trajectory as a dependable set-shot marksman with a sprinkle of rim-crashing attempts; it's plausible for him to reach new heights in his late-20s.
Historically, players in a contract season tend to uplift their numbers. In his five-year career, Finney-Smith never averaged double-digit points. Color me unshocked if he reaches such a statistical mark next season. Finney-Smith has a chance to earn some real money next free agency.