Dallas Mavericks: Dorian Finney-Smith is an underrated defender

Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith does not get enough credit for his defense or impact on the team’s success this season.

The Dallas Mavericks have returned to playoff contention. They were a virtual lock to make the postseason before the NBA suspended play. That was a massive improvement after spending three years in the lottery as they rebuilt following two decades of success. One player that was drastically better was Dorian Finney-Smith.

The 27-year-old forward went undrafted in 2016. The Mavs signed him with the hopes of turning him into a 3-and-D wing. He struggled with his shooting during his first three seasons. This year, he shot 37.4 percent from 3-point range unlocking a new level. It allowed him to become a full-time starter for the first time.

It is easy to underrate Finney-Smith. His stats do not jump off the page. He averages 9.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 0.7 steals, and 0.6 blocks in 29.7 minutes per game. Finney-Smith is a key piece for the Mavs, though.

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His defensive contributions have started being underrated too. Part of it is the lack of traditional stats. He is not creating a ton of turnovers which makes it easier to discount them. Finney-Smith does a ton of heavy lifting for the Mavericks, though. Doe-Doe is never afraid to take on the toughest matchups. Coach Rick Carlisle and the Mavericks trust him to defend the opposition’s top scorer.

Krishna Narsu compiled the matchups data to determine that Finney-Smith spent the third-highest percentage of time guarding All-Stars this season. That is one reason to explain why his defensive numbers may not pop. He is always guarding one of the best options on the floor.

Bank it into the lengthy list of reasons why Doe-Doe is underrated. He was 101st in ESPN’s defensive real plus-minus this season. Finney-Smith also finished 102nd in FiveThirtyEight’s defensive RAPTOR. I’d argue he is significantly better than those numbers suggest on the defensive end of the floor. The Mavs assign him the toughest matchups, and that drives his advanced metrics down.

Finney-Smith signed a long-term deal in the summer of 2019. His contract allows the Mavericks to remain flexible as they continue building towards title contention. Doe-Doe will be an important part of that equation. Expect him to continue working and improving too.

Dallas Mavericks supporters should be excited about the future of the organization. Things will only go up from here, so stay tuned.

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