As a fifth-year senior on a middle of the pack team in the SEC, Dorian Finney-Smith has operated pretty far below the national radar this season. He's not a big-time scorer and he's not capable of single-handedly carrying Florida in the NCAA Tournament, but that doesn't mean he's not a very impactful player at the NCAA level and he has quietly put together the type of season that should really intrigue NBA scouts. DFS is currently at No. 51 in the DraftExpress mock and he would represent a lot of value at that point because he's exactly the type of role player at the 3 and 4 positions that every team in the league could use.
Finney-Smith can defend 3 positions at the next level
At 6'8 220 with a 6'11 wingspan, Finney-Smith is a prototype defender in the modern NBA. He's big enough to hold his own in the post and box out bigger players, he's long enough to help when it comes to rim protection and interior defense and he's quick enough to switch pick-and-rolls and guard out on the perimeter.
DFS would have been a pure 3 a generation ago but he's more than big enough to play as a 4 in the modern NBA. The big concern with guys who make that switch is whether they can at least hold up playing against bigger players and DFS has become an expert at that in his time in Florida. He's long and active enough to be a factor on the boards, even though he gives up a lot of weight to some of the bigger front-lines out there:
To be sure, DFS will never be an impact rebounder when playing down a position. The point is that he can survive at that spot, which is all you can ask for from a smaller defender in that scenario. What makes him such an intriguing defensive prospect is what he can do on the perimeter, as the opposing guard doesn't have a huge advantage when they are matched up 1-on-1 against him.
DFS is a good but not great athlete and there's still a lot he has to learn about the intricacies of playing NBA defense, but he's a step ahead of a lot of NCAA guys who make that transition because he has been playing a similar role at Florida.
Finney-Smith's jumper is unorthodox but effective
The general concern for most players with his skill-set is whether they can stretch the defense on the other end of the floor and at least stay out of the way on offense. DFS has a weird hitch in his shot but he has been a consistent shooter at Florida for a long time so there's no reason to think that he won't be able to translate that to the next level.
Freshman: 36.6% on 2.2 3PA's
Sophomore: 29.5% on 5.6 3PA's
Junior: 42.6% on 4.1 3PA's
Senior: 41.3% on 5.2 3PA's
He's a consistent shooter who has the green light to pull from just about anywhere on the court:
Florida certainly doesn't treat him like an inconsistent shooter. How many defensive specialists have plays drawn up for them where they run around screens and look to catch-and-fire?
The rest of Finney-Smith's offensive game has gradually improved
I don't think there's any question that he's never going to be much more than an offensive role player at the next level. He's not a natural shot creator and he's rarely asked to create his own shot 1-on-1 at the NCAA level. What's important, though, is that he has diversified his game to where he's more than just a pure spot-up shooter. DFS can move the ball, find the open man and put the ball on the floor, depending on what the defense gives him. He can be a valuable asset in a modern offense and he's not so one-dimensional that he can be game-planned out of effectiveness.
As you would expect for a senior who turns 23 in May, DFS has a good feel for the game and he rarely gets sped up by the opposing defense. He was an integral part in breaking the "Press Virginia" that Bobby Huggins has rode to turn West VA into a national power in Florida's upset win on Saturday because he could dribble out of trouble and he had the size to see over the double team. Here he is finding the open cutter at the front of the rim when he was trapped in the corner:
In this sequence, he patiently waits for the West VA defenders to show their hand before finding the Florida big man at the front of the rim:
When the defense started selling out to prevent him from getting open looks for 3, DFS could attack the close-out, get into the lane and finish at the rim:
In this play, he takes his man off the dribble and uses the space he creates to draw a foul. There's not a lot of 6'8+ defensive specialists who can make plays like this:
All that is left is to see how he defends other NBA prospects
DFS was integral in their upset of West Virginia on Saturday and the interesting part about that game was how rarely the Mountaineers tried to challenge him 1-on-1. I counted him guarding at least 6 different West VA players over the course of the game and almost none of them looked to challenge him on defense, opting mostly to move the ball and keep the offense running. I'm not sure if that was part of the game-plan or that was just the nature of the beast in terms of West VA being a fairly democratic team without one big-time star dominating the offense.
That's really the only question I have about DFS in terms of how high I would draft him. I want to see how he does when he has to play 1-on-1 against some of the best scorers at the NCAA level because that's the part of his game that is going to determine his ceiling in the NBA. He's long but he's not super long, he's fast but he's not super fast and he's strong but not super strong. He has the tools to be a really good defender but whether he can get to that point against the best of the best will be determined by whether he can do all the little things correctly. In other words, I want to see how he holds up against guys whom he can't take shortcuts against.
In looking at the rest of their SEC schedule, three games stand out:
Kentucky (Feb 6 and Mar 1) - Jamal Murray
South Carolina (Feb 20) - Sindarious Thornwell
LSU (Feb 27) - Ben Simmons
If I was really wanting to dig into the film in the run-up to the draft, I'd go back and look at these games and see how much he guarded these players:
Miami (FL) - Shelden McClellan
Michigan State - Denzel Valentine
Florida State - Dwayne Bacon
LSU (Jan 9) - Simmons
Texas A&M - Danuel House
The interesting part about that is what a wide range of players that is. DFS can conceivably guard pure 2's like McClellan all the way to pure 4's like Simmons. He's a versatile defensive player with a well-rounded offensive game and those players are worth their weight in gold at the NBA level.