Dorian Finney-Smith Speaks on His Journey to Becoming the Mavs’ 3-and-D Specialist
When Dorian Finney-Smith entered the NBA out of Florida six years ago, the Dallas Mavericks wing heeded the advice he was given that he could “make a lot of money” if he could consistently hit the easiest shot in the League, the corner three.
Since signing with the Mavs as an undrafted agent in 2016, Finney-Smith has grown to be a strong 3-and-D specialist, with the corner three being his signature shot. The former Florida Gator has former teammate Wesley Matthews to thank for his jumper becoming a lethal strength.
“I was already playing into the corner my rookie year, and once I realized how many corner threes I was going to get, I just worked on it,” Finney-Smith told BasketballNews.com. “Wesley Matthews was a good vet for me. He was always telling me that I needed to get that (corner three) shot down pat if I wanted to be on the court,”
“And I did!”
Finney-Smith’s accuracy as a shooter has gone up every season thanks to his dogged work ethic. As a rookie, he shot 29.3 percent from beyond the arc. Now, Finney-Smith is knocking triples down at a career-high 39.5 percent clip. He’s also hit 46.1 percent of his corner three-pointer attempts, a vast improvement from the 26.3 percent clip he shot as a rookie.
Finney-Smith is smoking the nylon during the Mavs run to the Western Conference Finals, shooting 52.5 percent from the corner.
“I had the confidence that I could shoot. I shot the ball well in college; it just ain’t translated the first couple of years in the NBA,” Finney-Smith said.
He credits his development into a plus shooter to not only Matthews, but teammates like Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell, and Luka Doncic, who Finney-Smith says watched him put the work in often enough to trust him when it matters late in the game.
“Repetition builds confidence,” Finney-Smith explained. “Also, I think my teammates seeing how hard I worked, it also built confidence in them. The ones who have been here with me throughout this journey — like Maxi [Kleber], Dwight [Powell], Luka [Doncic] — I think they see the work I put in, and that also gives them confidence to give the ball to me in late-game situations.
“Guys see the work you put in; they can tell if you’ve been in the gym or if you been BSing, and I built confidence with those guys, especially Luka, to pass me the ball in those clutch situations. They have trust in me, even when I miss it.”
Along the way, Finney-Smith earned the trust of the Mavericks front office, who awarded the former undrafted wing with a four-year contract, reportedly with $55 million for all his hard work and being pivotal in numerous regular-season and playoff wins.
During the 2021-22 campaign, Finney-Smith averaged a career-best 11.0 points on 3.2 attempted threes per game, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game on 47.1 percent shooting from the field. Finney-Smith joined Kleber and Jason Terry as the only players in Mavs history to make at least eight three-pointers in a game.
The Mavericks’ season is still alive after they blew the Warriors out in Game 4, extending their season for at least one more game while attempting to become the first team in NBA playoff history to come back from a 3-0 deficit. Golden State hosts Thursday’s Game 5 of the WCF series.
Should the Warriors win, Golden State will be making their sixth NBA Finals trip since 2015.