clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Dorian Finney-Smith played his role to perfection

Finney-Smith has become the player Dallas has been searching for for years

NBA: Playoffs-Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Season in review

Dorian Finney-Smith, second-longest tenured Dallas Maverick and quintessentially “Mavs-y” guy turned in another banner year, earned every bit of his contract extension, and, arguably, upped his post-season play more than any other Mavericks player not named Jalen Brunson.

The narrative of the undrafted player is perhaps a dead horse at this point with Finney-Smith, but his development into one of Dallas’ most important starters has been a great treat to those who slogged through watching those ugly 2016, 2017, and 2018 campaigns. And while the Mavericks' player development surely deserves some credit for how Finney-Smith has grown, it shouldn’t be discounted just how much of that is a testament to Finney-Smith’s drive to improve and develop into exactly the kind of player Dallas needed – and the kind of player 29 other teams in the league would kill to have on their roster.

Dorian put up a career-high in points this season while increasing his three-point attempts per game from 5 to 5.4 and still flirting with that 40% boundary, hitting at a rate of 39.5 after shooting 39.4 last season. As mentioned, those already solid numbers jumped even higher in the playoffs. Finney-Smith shot 42.6 percent from three while attempting six per game, and was a big piece of Dallas’ three-point onslaught that sent Utah and then Phoenix home early. Mind you, those shooting numbers came on the heels of regularly playing 40-plus minutes and, along with Reggie Bullock, serving as the go-to defender for the opposing team’s best perimeter players.

Best game

Dorian had some real gems this season, especially down the stretch as Dallas was fighting for post-season positioning. However, it’s hard not to pick one of the aforementioned performances from the Mavericks’ deep playoff run.

A game that perhaps best encapsulated Finney-Smith’s expansive contributions was the Game 6 elimination of the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. Finney-Smith led the team in minutes played with an exhausting 45:39. It was also his only double-double of the postseason and a game that saw him shoot 4-of-9 from three, contributing to his 18 points while grabbing 10 boards. And despite the heavy minutes, he played staunch defense until the very end.

With Dallas clinging to a one-point lead and Mike Conley driving in transition after a missed layup from Doncic, it was Dorian Finney-Smith husting back on D to meet him at the rim with Spencer Dinwiddie that forced a game-changing traveling call. Of all the great nights he had in the playoffs, it’d be hard to pick one that more embodies Dorian Finney-Smith’s game.

Contract status

After being one of the best bargains in basketball, Dorian signed a well-deserved 4-year, $55M extension that ends with a player option in 2025-26. With how Finney-Smith’s been playing, that’s still going to be a great deal for Dallas.

Looking ahead

With Dallas announcing its contender status this season, Finney-Smith’s prime is going to overlap nearly perfectly with the window the Mavericks have open. That they came up short this season belies the potential for some roster moves from new General Manager Nico Harrison, but it would be shocking if Dallas parted with their best home-grown contributor. (Especially with the contract he’s on.)

The past two seasons have been monuments to efficient consistency from DFS. He’s blossomed into the quintessential “3&D” wing that Dallas has longed and hunted for in past off-seasons. That’s not to say the team, or any team, couldn’t use another versatile guy in the DFS mold, but having one is one more than some teams have.

Grade: A-

Dorian was the dream role player this season. He was a huge contributor in a role that’s become seemingly mandatory for teams serious about contending in the modern NBA.