LAS VEGAS — Dorian Finney-Smith's shot is off.
Amidst the excitement surrounding rookie Dennis Smith, Jr. and the Dallas Mavericks' win streak, Finney-Smith's shooting has drawn some negative attention during Summer League. When you look at the numbers, it's apparent why.
Through four games, Finney-Smith has made just five of the 34 shots he has taken. That's good for a field goal percentage of 14.7. So, things could certainly be going better, but it's not entirely surprising. Finney-Smith is working to change his shot mechanics, making them smoother.
"I felt like I just had a glitch in my shot," Finney-Smith said. "I've been hearing it my whole life that I needed to remove the ball from behind my head when I shoot it but I just never really had the time to change it. And this summer, me and coach decided that was the best thing for my shot. This is the first time I'm getting in-game reps, shots with the transformation. I'm just going to stick with it."
Before Finney-Smith can really get into the mechanics of changing his shot, though, he has to become comfortable with what the coaches are teaching him according to Mavs' Summer League head coach Jamahl Mosley.
"The mechanics, right now, aren't really where Dorian is. He's trusting the process of each piece of what we're giving him: keeping the ball in front, not pulling it behind the head. Those are the parts he's concentrating on. But for right now, for him, he's gotten so many reps and he's put so much work in, he's fine.
"He's just got to trust the process of believing the shot's going to go in and it's going to. I have zero questions about that."
While Mosley has the utmost confidence in Finney-Smith finding the stroke, there are some real concerns if he doesn't.
No one will question Finney-Smith's effort and importance on the defensive end. Mosley has praised his grit and toughness so far during Summer League. And his efforts last season also speak to his defensive tenacity. But there are two sides of the ball.
If his shot doesn't develop, opponents won't bother guarding him when the Mavs are on offense. This effectively ruins the Mavs' spacing and allows a defender to float free to bring double teams or clog the lane.
To make up for this, Finney-Smith will have to be aggressive, putting the ball on the floor and driving, keeping the defender's attention. He's shown the willingness to attack the rim in Las Vegas, drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line in the process.
It's too early to make a final determination on Finney-Smith's shooting. It doesn't look good in games now but it's still a work in progress and he knows that.
"I think it's more mental right now because I shoot it good in practice and workouts," Finney-Smith said. "But you know how it is when you're making shots, you want to revert back to your old ways. I'm just trying to trust my work."
Right now that's exactly what he should be doing and Summer League presents the perfect opportunity to find that trust.