Mavs Season Review: Dorian Finney-Smith - 'A Chip On My Shoulder'

Mavs Season Review: Dorian Finney-Smith - 'A Chip On My Shoulder'

Mavs Season Review: Dorian Finney-Smith 

Dorian Finney-Smith came to the Dallas Mavericks as yet another undrafted free agent in the summer of 2016. The thought was that the 6-8 Finney-Smith would be a nice addition to the summer league/preseason rosters, but not much more. ... indeed, there were expectations inside of Mavs HQ that he'd land with the D-League Texas Legends, and those expectations were shared by the Legends.

Suffice it to say, he surpassed those expectations, and became a valuable part of the Mavs roster by the end of the season. 

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"I played 81 games and I started almost 40, so coaches and everybody can see the talent,'' DFS said. "Now, I’ve just got to get a little bit more consistent with my shot, start putting it down a little bit more and don’t forget what got me here, and that’s defense.”

Admittedly, Dorian’s numbers weren't fantastic at first glance. He only averaged 4.3 points and 2.7 boards per game, and only scored in double-digits seven times. But his effect was felt in other areas, including the defensive end of the floor, where he was arguably one of Dallas’ two best defenders. 

Finney-Smith played in 81 games for the Mavs, starting 35 of those games, and averaged about 20 minutes per contest. Without Wes Matthews on the floor, DFS was asked time and time again to check the opposing teams best offensive players on the perimeter, and even saw action on the block as an undersized power forward from time to time. 

In short, he made himself a key piece of the roster, and far exceeded the expectations that anyone had of him going into the season. Was he all-rookie team candidate or a rookie of the year nominee? No.  But he made a very positive impact for Dallas, that would not have been easily replicated by any other undrafted free agent. 

As coach Rick Carlisle said in January, "He’s unique for a young guy. He’s a guy that’s really focused on the defensive end. He loves the challenge of defense. He’s got a mind that’s geared toward the technicality of defense. He loves the challenge. That’s where he’s ahead of the curve of some guys that have come in the league. … When it’s all said and done, if he keeps developing the way he’s going, we’re gonna look back on this draft and say that he’s a guy that should’ve been taken in the lottery somewhere.''

That may be a stretch. But for the money ...

Finney-Smith is signed to a partially-guaranteed deal through the 2019 season. (The Mavs have team options they can pick up for just $900K  in 2017-18 and just $1 mil the following year.) If he continues to improve not only his already-high basketball IQ, but also his ability to shoot the basketball, he has every chance to develop into the kind of solid rotation guy that the Mavs will need to be successful in the future. 

“I’ve still got that chip on my shoulder,'' said Finney-Smith, who the Mavs want to reporting to Dallas in mid-May and mid-June for workouts before he again plays Summer League. "This is a great place for me.''

Overall Season Grade: B

Note: All Dallas Maverick player ratings are based on a combination of player expectations and production for the season. 

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