Dorian Finney-Smith has a strong bond with Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell, part of which they are happy to share and another part that they’d like to lose – in a hurry.
On the good side, those players are growing together, still on the upside of their careers. And all three have done just fine this summer in the area of the Mavericks taking good care of them financially. They all have sparkling new contracts.
However, there’s a problem. Kleber, who will be entering his third season, and Finney-Smith, going into his fourth year, haven’t been to the playoffs. And Powell hasn’t been since his second season. This three-year drought has grated on them, Finney-Smith said. No player wants to be known as an also-ran in the playoff race.
And now that they are in a better position financially, it’s time to address that issue.
“For sure,” Finney-Smith said. “Everybody got their deals and we always talk. We’re all just ready to get going and make the playoffs. We’re tired of losing seasons and not reaching our goals – being a disappointment to each other.
“We obviously aren’t making the playoffs yet, so we got to take responsibility and get better this summer individually. We’re good on paper. Now we just got to put it on the court.”
On Wednesday and Thursday, Finney-Smith took part in the Mavericks’ Hoop Camps in Southlake and Allen. He entertained the campers and took on all comers in spirited games of Knockout. Interacting with the kids is something Finney-Smith takes seriously.
“I’m just glad to see the kids with smiles on their faces,” he said. “It’s a great way for them to see us in a more personal light.”
This part of the summer also is a time for players to work out and rest to get ready for training camp, which begins in late September, and the regular season.
The 6-8 Finney-Smith is slotted in as a backup forward behind Tim Hardaway Jr. and possibly, Kristaps Porzingis in smaller lineups. The University of Florida product is coming of a solid third season, one that he needed after missing most of 2017-18 with a leg injury. He averaged 7.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 24.5 minutes per game, all career highs.
Finney-Smith and Kleber both were re-signed by the Mavericks this summer. Powell received an extension to the final year on his contract that will keep him with the organization four more seasons.
The absence of playoff experience is the main thing Finney-Smith would like to see corrected this season. And he’s optimistic that the talent upgrade the Mavericks are getting with the addition of Kristaps Porzingis will help them accomplish that.
“He’s healthy and he can shoot it,” Finney-Smith said. “If he’s as good or anywhere close to New York, we’re going to be a problem.”
The Mavericks are hoping to be playing meaningful games into March and April. Last season, they had the excitement of Dirk Nowitzki’s pending retirement adding life to the latter part of the season.
This year, it will have to be a competitive playoff race to spice things up.
To that end, the Mavericks are excited that Finney-Smith, along with Kleber and Powell, are locked up with long-term contracts.
“Just coming in the NBA the way I did, it’s a blessing,” Finney-Smith said. “I got a couple years to get better now. And obviously, I just want to get to the playoffs and start winning. That’s the goal right now. I feel like we got the talent. We just got to put it together. I’m itching to make it.”
As are his fellow Mavericks that now hope to make good on the team’s investment.