Dallas Mavericks: Dorian Finney-Smith not just a de facto starter

Dallas Mavericks Dorian Finney-Smith (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Dorian Finney-Smith (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Dallas Mavericks wing Dorian Finney-Smith is playing well so far. It’s time for him to take the next step and put him in the starting lineup for good.

Dallas Mavericks wing Dorian Finney-Smith is taking advantage of an increase in opportunity.  Injuries are the necessary evil for players on the lower ranks of teams pushing the low odds of a breakthrough in significant minutes. In this case, Finney-Smith is the player blessed after unfortunate setbacks suffered by Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews. The Mavericks have won three out of four games with the undrafted hard-nosed forward in the starting lineup.

Looking at raw numbers alone won’t help realize the importance of Dorian’s presence in the starting lineup. Using counting stats as the end-all argument isn’t the most efficient approach in today’s NBA world. Shots distribution isn’t a new concept by any means, but by the Mavs permanently placing a 3-and-D player in its starting lineup, the less is more mantra fits like a glove.

Shot distribution

Wesley Matthews‘ increase in field goal attempts are well documented, and the opinion of whether it’s a positive or not vary depending on whom you ask. One thing is for certain, Matthews isn’t and never was intended to be the best player on a Mavericks roster. With that said, his confidence in his shooting stroke would immensely help the bench’s production.

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At the moment, J.J. Barea is the only player in the Mavericks’ second unit with adequate skills in creating offense. In addition to their gritty play, pairing Matthews and Barea’s offensive firepower would rival many rotations off the bench. It’s a promising theory for a team whose focus should be on its star rookie.

3-point execution

The more Luka Doncic has the ball the better. Using Matthews field goal attempts in lineups that don’t feature the Slovenian star will bode well for Dallas. In previous seasons, Finney-Smith wasn’t known for his 3-point shooting. However, it’s clear perimeter shooting was a focal point in his offseason improvements seeing his 42 percent from deep this year.

Dorian Finney-Smith’s season-high ten field goal attempts in the loss at home versus the New York Knicks is the single game where he looked for the basket to that degree. Despite the loss, he finished eight of ten on field goals and made both his 3-point attempts. In short, Dallas will never need to ponder over questionable shot attempts with Finney-Smith in the game.


A conscious effort is a vital piece to a good defender, although honestly speaking, in most situations, natural length is the deciding factor. Doe-Doe, affectionately nicknamed by the MFFL community, has the obvious advantage in height over Wesley Matthews. Moreover, Finney-Smith is athletic whereas Wes is all grit.


Dorian’s ability to successfully defend a player full of steam in transition is a wonder to watch. In most cases, that possession would have ended in a foul. His verticality and patience were showcased all in one highlight.

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In closing

Even if Dorian Finney-Smith isn’t the long-term answer for Dallas’ defensive woes, he is the clear quick-fix in the time being. In a year where the Dallas Mavericks are threatened to lose its pick, shifting him into the starting lineup isn’t a damning deed.