There are a lot of important players on the Dallas Mavericks team this year. Aside from the superstars, Dorian Finney-Smith might well be the most important player on the roster.
In the summer of 2016, the Dallas Mavericks were coming off of yet another early exit from the playoffs, thanks to Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was a strange year for the Mavericks, who had only a few players returning from the year before, and was once again looking like a team that would be returning very few players.
Despite a significant amount of turnover, the Mavs fanbase was at least a little bit optimistic about the season because they had just come off another playoff appearance and they managed to switch out a frustrating Chandler Parsons season with a reigning NBA champion, Harrison Barnes.
The season did not go well as the Mavs won only 33 games throughout the year. It was such a strange season, that the Mavericks actually had 24 different players appear in at least one of the 82 games played that year. Of these 24 players, nine of them were rookies playing in their first year of NBA action.
On a team with Harrison Barnes, Wesley Matthews, Dirk Nowitzki, Deron Williams, Devin Harris and J.J. Barea, it was a rookie that actually appeared in the most games during the season. Dorian Finney-Smith played in 81 games, despite being signed by the Mavs after the 2016 NBA Draft in which he was not selected.
This was the start of a career that has been very impressive, and yet barely recognized outside of Dallas. This is partially because Finney-Smith came to Dallas after going unselected in the draft, but it has a lot more to do with the way he plays and the way he carries himself on and off the court.
DFS is generally a pretty quiet player in the Mavericks locker room. He doesn’t seek out attention and goes about his business almost every night without any considerable media attention. And yet, he plays one of the most pivotal roles on a contending team in the Western Conference.
Of course, it is not all that weird that the media does not follow Dorian around much. Again, that just goes along with his all-business attitude and approach to the game.
When Dorian first came to the Mavs, they were hopeful that he could become a solid defensive wing in the NBA. He is now showing flashes as one of the better on-ball defensive players in the league and his offense is improving more and more each game.
Finney-Smith is no longer just a good defender, but a reliable, consistent defensive presence that has the ability to slow down some of the best wings in the league with tight defense, impressive body control and an underrated ability to protect the rim at times.
On offense, DFS is shooting nearly 39% from three and has also become one of the most exciting offensive rebounders in the game, with a chance at a putback dunk almost any given night. His timing and explosiveness off of missed shots from his teammates is a skillset that very few players in the league have.
Dorian Finney-Smith is becoming one of the most important and exciting players the Mavericks have to offer, and they got to keep him for only $4 million a year. That value has already been matched by his play, and it is just going to get better.