Dallas Mavericks: Dorian Finney-Smith is an underrated defender

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

Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith did not get enough credit for his stellar defensive play during the 2018-2019 season.

Dallas Mavericks fans know that Dorian Finney-Smith can make an impact on the defensive end of the floor. The 6’8 wing uses his 6’11 wingspan to make it difficult on the opposition.

The Mavs often ask Finney-Smith to take on the challenge of guarding the other team’s top scoring option. That is a thankless job that can take a toll on any player’s statistics.

DFS excels at it, though. He averages 0.9 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 4.8 rebounds per game in just 24.5 minutes a night. Here is an example of his stellar defense against Bradley Beal from March 6.


Numbers don’t do it justice

The advanced numbers do not give Dorian Finney-Smith enough credit. His defensive rating was 111 which ranked seventh on the Mavericks behind Luka Doncic and Dirk Nowitzki. To say, 40-year-old Dirk that was slowly by foot and ankle injuries all season was a better defender than DFS is just a mistake. That is no knock on the legend either, but a testimate to Finney-Smith’s defensive work.

He also produced a defensive box score plus/minus of 1.1 and 2.0 defensive win shares this season. Finney-Smith ranked 92nd in the NBA in defensive win shares and 53rd in the defensive box score plus/minus category. Those metrics give a more accurate portrayal, but it is not the best.

The Mavs official Twitter ran the following video on May 20 that does a fantastic job summing up Dorian Finney-Smith’s season.

Needs to work on his shooting

Finney-Smith still needs to improve his jumper, though. He shot a career-high 31.1 percent on his 254 3-point attempts this season. DFS continues to make gains, but taking the leap to being a league average 3-point shooter would solidify him as a lethal 3-and-D option.

Final thoughts

Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith is an underrated defender. He was one of the Mavs best this season. The 26-year-old still has room to grow too.

Finney-Smith is a restricted free agent this offseason. The Mavericks have the right to match any offer sheet he signs. The front office is interested in bringing him back, but another team could attempt to steer him away from Dallas with a massive offer. NBA teams are always willing to pay for 3-and-D wings, so monitor Finney-Smith’s situation during free agency.

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