Dorian Finney-Smith, the undrafted free agent who inked his second long-term NBA contract last off-season, is poised to enter the playoffs for the first time, and things couldn’t be looking better.
His year-over-year improvement has found the admirably low-key wing cemented in the starting lineup, and as July 31 draws closer, his role becomes all the more important.
Where were they before the break?
After signing the aforementioned contract this summer (3-years, $12M), Finney-Smith has gone on to earn every single penny en route to putting up career-best numbers nearly across the board. To go along with his starting spot in the lineup, DFS is posting his best effective field goal percentage, total rebounds, and three point percentage, all while playing more and increasing his shot volume from 6.5 per game to 7.1 per game, and from 3.1 to 4.1 attempts from three per game.
Not to mention, his offensive improvement comes while still being Dallas’ best defender despite often getting stuck on to the opposing team’s best player. Opponents shoot 3.6 percent worse when being guarded by Finney-Smith, and 4.2 percent worse beyond the three-point line, according to NBA.com/stats — a stat becoming ever-more important as the league shows no signs of becoming less infatuated with long-distance shots.
TL;DR, Dorian Finney-Smith was having a very good season. Very good, indeed.
Key stat to know
Eight out of ten. That is, of the ten best Maverick lineups as calculated by NBA.com’s Player Impact Estimate (and have appeared in five or more games), eight of them feature Dorian Finney-Smith.
His ubiquity across lineups speaks to his utility and longevity. As injuries knocked many a Mavs out for certain stretches, DFS has largely been not only healthy, but effective. His defensive grit is what made him stick as an undrafted free agent, but his improved offense, especially in the corners where he’s shooting 43.4 percent, means his defender is no longer able to abandon him when Dallas runs its offense — and if they do, Finney-Smith has made them pay all season. Dallas desperately needed some career seasons from deep from their stable of role players to help out Luka Doncic and Finney-Smith has delivered in spades.
Outlook for Orlando
The Mavericks are going to go as far as Luka and Kristaps Porzingis can take them. That’s the reality of the star-driven league that is the NBA. However, if ever there was a team that has championed the value of an elite role player, it’s Dallas. Finney-Smith has flourished in the role of the 3&D wing player, and it stands to reason that his spot in the lineup will continue to be critical if the Mavs are going to scare some teams in the postseason.