If the NBA season hadn’t been suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, this weekend would have been the first time in his four-year career that Dorian Finney-Smith would have played in a playoff game.
The Dallas Mavericks’ forward has been holding out hope that the NBA will find a way to restart the season at some point. Until then, he’s been doing a number of things to keep himself busy, and he discussed that with Mavs.com.
Mavs.com: What have you been doing with yourself since the season ended?
Dorian Finney-Smith: I’ve been working out and I’m trying to stay on schedule with my kids. I’m just trying to keep everybody safe and trying to limit us leaving the house. I just go out for food and things we need. I’m just trying to stay in shape. I was banged up before the season was suspended. I’m just trying to use this time to get back. My hip was bruised.
Mavs.com: Whenever the game does return, there’s been some chatter about perhaps playing the game with no fans in the stands. What’s your take on that?
Finney-Smith: Everybody ain’t LeBron (James), so I’ve got to get paid. But I also understand they’ve got to make sure everybody’s safe.
Mavs.com: Have you been in the kitchen cooking anything?
Finney-Smith: I tried, but my daughter said, ‘Daddy, you don’t know what you’re doing.’ I was just trying to make an omelette. It was alright. It wasn’t bad.
Mavs.com: What’s been a typical day for you since the season was suspended?
Finney-Smith: My daughter gets up at 8 and eats (breakfast), and she gets on her Zoom meeting with her teacher. I’ll get up and go check on her and make sure she’s up and is set up at her desk. Then I go outside and get on the bike and ride for 30 minutes. Then I go eat and watch TV for a little bit. Then I help my daughter with any questions she asks, then I work out again with my girl. We’ll go and shoot on the goal I’ve got – it’s like a little kid’s goal – and just kick it for the rest of the day.
Mavs.com: You were playing the best basketball of your career this season. And this would have been your first trip to the playoffs. Missing out on that – if this season doesn’t restart – has to be disappointing, right?
Finney-Smith: That hurts right there, because I want to play in the playoffs. I was really looking forward to that.
Mavs.com: How anxious are you to see if the season will pick back up and you get that opportunity to make your first playoff appearance?
Finney-Smith: I hope it does, but I also understand the risk that they’ll put people in if they try to move too fast. But I would love to play if we can figure this (coronavirus) out.
Mavs.com: Have your TV-watching habits increased since the season was suspended?
Finney-Smith: Yeah, I’ve been watching a lot more TV. I feel like we’ve been watching every show on Netflix. We watched Money Heist. I watched Tiger King. It was funny.
Mavs.com: What’s been the most difficult part about having the season suspended and not knowing when or if it’s going to start back up?
Finney-Smith: Just not knowing what’s next. Just the uncertainly.
Mavs.com: How strange is it to not have any live sports to attend or watch on TV?
Finney-Smith: It’s crazy. I pray that we can figure this out and everybody be safe and that we can come up with something.
Mavs.com: You were a part of March Madness when you played at Florida. What did you – and other college basketball fans – miss because March Madness was canceled this year?
Finney-Smith: A lot. I know a bunch of college guys who are thinking about leaving (college early to declare for the NBA Draft) or staying in college. Some guys didn’t even get to play (in March Madness) so they could boost their stock in the upcoming draft, so that’s tough. If it was my senior year, or year I was thinking about leaving (college early), that would be tough.
Mavs.com: Do you have any encouraging words for those high school athletes – particularly the seniors – who missed out on finishing their spring sports because of this crisis?
Finney-Smith: Just control the things you can control and stay positive and weather the storm.
Mavs.com: The season was suspended following the March 11 home game against Denver. How tough has it been not being able to go to the practice facilities and work out since then?
Finney-Smith: I feel like I haven’t had a real good workout in since the day of the last game, because I don’t have a basketball court at my house. Everybody don’t have it like that.
Mavs.com: What was going through your mind once you heard the season was going to be suspended?
Finney-Smith: I wasn’t playing, and I saw it at halftime. At first I was going to stay in the back (in the locker room) the whole game, because I didn’t have a jacket (to wear on the bench). I came to the game thinking I was going to play, but they decided to sit me. DP (Dwight Powell) kept saying he had a jacket in his locker. It was over-sized, but I ended up wearing it anyway because I heard it was going to be the last game. So I just came out the second half (and sat on the bench) because I knew it was going to be the last game.
Mavs.com: You’re going to be 27 years old on May 4. How are you going to celebrate your birthday in this age of social distancing?
Finney-Smith: With my two girls and my girl (friend). It’s going to be different not being around my mom and my brother, but we’ll figure out another way to celebrate.
Mavs.com: Have you been playing NBA 2K?
Finney-Smith: That’s what I’ve really been on. I try to get the kids in bed by 9:30, then it’s on. I give my wife a night and watch a movie, and I know that next day I’m going to wear that game out.
Mavs.com: If and when the season starts back up, how much time do you need to get yourself in basketball shape?
Finney-Smith: I need a mini-camp or a training camp or something to be in basketball shape, because I don’t have any facilities. I can run, but that’s not basketball. I don’t have a basketball court at my house. But I can get in shape pretty quick. I’ll need about two weeks.
Mavs.com: What do you want to say to comfort the fans during this unfortunate break in the schedule?
Finney-Smith: We miss you guys. I can’t wait to get out there and back on the court. But do whatever you’ve got to do to be safe and keep everybody around you safe. Just be ready, and I’m going to try my best to be ready.