Dorian Finney-Smith was always considered to be one of the leading candidates to make the Dallas Mavericks’ roster this season. After the cuts came down over the weekend, Finney-Smith found himself a member of the Mavs for the regular season. While making the team is certainly a dream for him, there’s still a long way to go before he proves himself at an NBA level.
Main Question: Will Finney-Smith see minutes?
Finney-Smith will be the 15th man on the roster. That doesn’t bode well for playing time. The Mavericks clearly like something about the undrafted forward from Florida, but the average fan, and for that matter basketball writer, might not know what Dallas sees in him if they just look at the box score.
Earlier in preseason, I wrote about how head coach Rick Carlisle will be evaluating players who are looking to make the team.
“A lot of it is positional and how we’re stocked at certain positions,” Carlisle said at the time. “That will be part of it and then it’s about daily production in practice and in the games ... Every minute and every second really counts.”
Finney-Smith apparently made the most of his minutes. However, it doesn’t necessarily show up in the box score. In 15 minutes per game during the preseason, he averaged 3.3 points on 26.9 percent shooting and three rebounds. A couple of things that do stand out, though, are his 3-point shooting, 40 percent, and his lack of fouls, he averaged just one.
So, there’s something there. At least the Mavs think so. I’d imagine they’re hoping to turn him into a reliable 3-and-D player but that will take some time.
Best case scenario
The ideal situation for Finney-Smith is to spend as much time in the D-League as possible this season. He’s not going to see many opportunities with the Mavs unless it’s a blow out situation. If he is going to make it in the league he is going to need to play in actual games and the Texas Legends are the perfect vehicle for that.
Worst case scenario
I’m not sure that there really is a worst case scenario for him. He made an NBA roster and will have at least a season to work on his skills in practice and likely the D-League. That seems like a pretty sweet deal to me. However, if he ends up riding the pine and not playing in the D-League then that is certainly not ideal. I just don’t think that the Mavs will let that happen. They understand the value of developing players now. At least I hope they do.