The SEC's sixth man of the year as a sophomore, Dorian Finney-Smith became a full-time starter as a junior, and delivered a strong season individually, culminating in Second-Team All-SEC honors. It was ultimately a disappointing year overall however, as the team stumbled to a sub-500 record, their worst campaign in nearly 20 years, missing postseason play for the first time since Billy Donovan's debut season at Florida. With Donovan moving on to coach the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Gators and newcomer Michael White will be looking to fifth-year senior Finney-Smith for leadership in what appears to have the makings of a transition year for the program.
Listed at 6-8 by Florida, and measuring consistently between 6-7 and 6-8 in shoes the last few years, with a 6-11 wingspan, Finney-Smith has very good size for the small forward position and probably adequate height to play some small-ball power forward like he's mostly done in college thus far. He's added 25 pounds since the first measurement we have in our database back in 2010, and now sports an impressive frame that looks ready for the rigors of playing professional basketball at the highest levels.
Although he led the Gators in scoring last season, Finney-Smith is undoubtedly a role-player even at the college level, seeing almost all of his offense playing off the ball, whether its spotting up from the 3-point line, crashing the offensive glass, running the floor, or cutting/rolling to the basket.
He made some dramatic improvements between his sophomore and junior seasons in a few different areas, though, upping his 2P% from 44 to 50%, and his 3P% from 29 to 43%, which increases his appeal as a pro prospect significantly considering the type of role he'll most likely be asked to play.
Finney-Smith's improvement from the perimeter is perhaps the most notable as far as his NBA stock is concerned. While he still shoots a two-handed jumper while releasing the ball from the side of his head, he seems to have found a more repeatable and smooth stroke now, complete with a consistent release point, which he looks far more confident with. He saw excellent results with it as a junior, making 46% of his catch and shoot jumpers, the second best rate among returning draft prospects. Long-armed 6-8 combo forwards who can stretch the floor and defend their position are increasingly valuable in today's NBA, making Finney-Smith's improvement from the perimeter very intriguing.
Beyond that, Finney-Smith finds subtle ways to contribute offensively, crashing the glass, sprinting in transition, or moving intelligently off the ball and into open spaces. He is very effective around the basket when he's not the one creating his own offense, as he finished a solid 55% of his looks inside the paint in the half-court. He also kept mistakes to a minimum, turning the ball over on just 14% of his used possessions, while doing a nice job of making the extra pass unselfishly and fueling his team's ball-movement. All these things bode well for his potential of carving out a role at the NBA level, where he'll never be the most talented player on the floor.
With that said, while Finney-Smith's junior season provided us with a decent sample size of 3-pointers, with 115 attempts, his 59% free throw percentage (career 61%) still makes you wonder if his dramatic shooting improvement as a junior is indeed here to stay. NBA teams will want to see him carry over his success to his final season of college basketball, helping to up his career 35.7% 3-point percentage closer towards the 40% area possibly.
That will be very important, since it seems unlikely that Finney-Smith will ever emerge as a high-level shot-creator at this point. He remains a crude ball-handler in the half-court, struggling to do much damage even in transition or attacking closeouts in a straight-line. Finney-Smith can use his solid first step and chiseled frame to get to the rim if a lane is there, but he has no real left hand, and is incapable of changing speeds or directions if the defense rotates in his direction.
Due to his powerful frame, he seems to look a little more explosive than he actually is, as he really struggles to finish around the rim in traffic, partially due to the fact that he does not have great touch (which may help explain his struggles as a free throw shooter). When he does get all the way to the basket, he rarely appears to be fully on-balance, making it difficult for him to get off an under control layup attempt. Needless to say, he doesn't draw many fouls inside the paint, only getting to the free throw line 4 times per-40 minutes last season.
Defensively is where NBA teams might be the most intrigued by Finney-Smith's long-term potential. At 6-8, with a chiseled frame, he's big and strong enough to contain most power forwards he'll encounter, but also has the length, quickness and agility needed to step outside and guard perimeter players as well. His multi-positional versatility defensively is reflected in the 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks he averages, making him one of only a dozen or so returning draft prospects to post that combination. On top of that, he's hauled in a career 10.2 rebounds per-40 minutes on average, which is a very nice added bonus.
Turning 23 in May, Finney-Smith will be among the older players in next year's draft, which makes this an important season for him from a production standpoint. With that said, his ready-made role-playing status eases those concerns a bit, especially considering how little of a transition he'll actually have to make in terms of his style of play. All things considered, Finney-Smith will get a lot of NBA looks this upcoming spring if he's coming off a strong senior year.