The Brooklyn Nets received forward Dorian Finney-Smith as part of the Kyrie Irving trade package earlier this month, and while he may not be a superstar, the Virginia native could still be the Nets’ X-factor as the season winds down.
Known primarily for his defensive prowess, Finney-Smith has already helped change the way Brooklyn competes. The Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving-led Nets were a squad that needed to shoot the lights out in order to win games. Finney-Smith, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Nic Claxton, and others make up a roster that is more apt to welcome a defensive slug feat. Finney-Smith is arguably the best perimeter defender of the bunch and came to NYC in hopes of elevating Brooklyn’s level of play.
“I plan on guarding the best player on the court, I take the challenge in that,” Finney-Smith told the New York Post earlier this month. “You ain’t got to draw up a play for me. I’m going to find ways to get involved and be aggressive. Just a winning mentality, I’m going to bring that to the team.”
Finney-Smith’s commitment to being a prime defender has already made a legitimate difference for Brooklyn in terms of structure and strategy. In a recent win over the Chicago Bulls, the 29-year-old was +32 despite only scoring 9 points on a 4-10 shooting day. This kind of performance points to another way in which Finney-Smith can make his mark.
Dorian-Finney Smith can help the Nets fill the offensive void.
With the exit of Durant and Irving, the Nets are a team in search of buckets. Bridges’ 45-point outburst against the Miami Heat last Wednesday could be a sign of things to come, but Brooklyn will still need to get a number of offensive contributions to fill the void.
Players such as Cam Thomas, Spencer Dinwiddie, and the aforementioned Cam Johnson will certainly provide scoring, but an increase in Finney-Smith’s offensive production could prove critical. He’s currently averaging 8.9 points per game with a 53.8 effective field goal percentage. Further, he’s shooting just under 35% from behind the arc while only attempting around 5 threes per game. One could argue Finney-Smith is capable of doing more.
While no one would dare say that the former Gator will transform into the number one scoring option, it’s quite possible that a slight increase in offensive aggression could lead to more points for Brooklyn. If Finney-Smith can dare to shoot more from behind the arc and elsewhere, the Nets will have another individual who can help put points on the scoreboard.
Dorian Finney-Smith will undoubtedly get starts and the chance to prove he’s a multifaceted talent as the Nets sprint toward the end of the regular season. He was brought to Brooklyn for his defensive wit, but it could be his offensive ferocity that launches both him and the Nets toward a playoff berth.