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Dorian Finney-Smith should have been a Top 10-15 pick in the 2016 Draft, according to Rick Carlisle

This is a spicy hot take but is it that far from the truth?

NBA: Dallas Mavericks-Media Day Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, when asked about Dorian Finney-Smith’s play in preseason, Rick Carlisle had glowing reviews and offered up what we in the business call a ‘hot take.’

Dorian Finney-Smith’s short time in the NBA has been very up and down. He entered the league as an undrafted rookie and made the roster on a very bad Mavs team that was desperate for young talent. After barely playing in the first five games of the season, Finney-Smith played 31 minutes in a game against the Bucks. A stellar defensive performance against Giannis Antetokounmpo to force overtime in that game vaulted Dodo into the starting lineup and he started 27 of the Mavericks next 30 games.

The Mavs had found a gem in the undrafted player scrap heap.

But during Finney-Smith’s sophomore season he struggled with knee injuries and only played in 21 total games.

So the sample size is small and there are still questions surrounding most of the players in the 2016 Draft but the question remains…is Carlisle right?

It’s almost an entirely subjective question—as all rankings are—but in this exercise a player’s potential also factors in and that’s hard to quantify.

Let’s look at the 2016 NBA Draft and see how many players would realistically be taken ahead of Dorian Finney-Smith. They will be broken into tiers with their actual draft position in parenthesis next to the player’s name.


  1. Ben Simmons (1)
  2. Brandon Ingram (2)
  3. Jaylen Brown (3)
  4. Kris Dunn (5)
  5. Buddy Hield (6)
  6. Jamal Murray (7)
  7. Jakob Poeltl (9)
  8. Thon Maker (10)
  9. Domantas Sabonis (11)
  10. Taurean Prince (12)
  11. Juancho Hernangomez (15)
  12. Caris LeVert (20)
  13. Pascal Siakam (27)
  14. Dejounte Murray (29)
  15. Maclom Brogdon (36)
  16. Fred VanVleet (Undrafted)
  17. Yogi Ferrell (Undrafted)

(You forgot about the other undrafted players, didn’t you?)

That’s 17 players right there that would absolutely be taken ahead of Dorian Finney-Smith in this draft. Already Carlisle’s take is busted but let’s keep going to see how far down Dodo lands.


  1. Dragan Bender (4)
  2. Marquese Chriss (8)
  3. Denzel Valentine (14)
  4. Skal Labissiere (28)
  5. Damian Jones (30)
  6. Tyler Ulis (34)
  7. Paul Zipser (48)
  8. Bryn Forbes (Undrafted)
  9. Ron Baker (Undrafted)

These are hard. All have shown flashes but no consistency—which is normal for young players like these guys. Dodo would probably fall somewhere into the middle of this group. Which means he’d most likely fall into the 18-26 range in the Draft.

Probably Not

  1. Georgios Papagiannis (13)
  2. Wade Baldwin (17)
  3. Henry Ellenson (18)
  4. Malachi Richardson (22)
  5. Malik Beasley (19)
  6. Timothe Luwawu Cabarrot (24)
  7. Brice Johnson (25)
  8. Furkan Korkmaz (26)

The word is still out on a lot of these players. Beasley, Korkmaz, and TLC all have a chance to prove this wrong. The rest should be congratulated for having been drafted that high, what an incredible accomplishment.


Deandre Bembry (21)
Guerschon Yabusele (16)
Ante Zizic (23)
Pat McCaw (38)
Jake Layman (47)

Bembry’s time in the league has been plagued by injuries. Yabusele and Zizic have played for one season on good teams and there’s just not enough to evaluate. Also, what happened to Pat McCaw… seriously… what is going on with Pat McCaw? Layman got a lot of run in the preseason for the Trailblazers which is a great thing for him but maybe a bad thing for the Blazers.


A case can be made that Dorian Finney-Smith should have been selected in the 20-25 range—which is a massive win for the Mavericks—but not as lofty as the Top 10-15 Carlisle suggested. There’s still time for all of this to change. Players that are this young are still growing and developing. Some could vault over Finney-Smith but still others could drop off.

All that being said, the Mavericks didn’t even draft Finney-Smith when they had the chance. They instead chose to select AJ Hammons with the 55th pick… So no one with the Mavericks gets to brag about this except for Dorian Finney-Smith.