The Brooklyn Nets were not known for their wing depth throughout the Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving era. However, following the trades of both stars at this year's deadline, the team was suddenly left with a logjam at the position.
Dorian Finney-Smith was among the wings to join the Nets in the blockbuster deals. The 29-year-old's stock had steadily risen within league circles in recent seasons due to his hard-nosed defense, three-point shooting and high-level playoff performances. While Finney-Smith appeared to be the 3-and-D wing Brooklyn had been missing in recent years, the team did not see immediate returns.
Dorian Finney-Smith's 2022-23 season with Nets
In 26 games with the Nets, the Florida product averaged 7.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists. After shooting 35.5 percent from three with Dallas before the trade, Finney-Smith struggled to find his rhythm in Brooklyn, converting at a 30.6 percent clip. Some of those struggles may be attributed to a nagging injury to the pinky finger of his shooting hand.
Days after their first-round sweep against Philadelphia, the Nets announced Finney-Smith underwent successful surgery to correct a contracture on the finger and is expected to resume workouts in mid-June. A contracture is defined as a “tightening of the muscles, tendons, skin, and nearby tissues that cause joints to shorten and become very stiff.”
While his shooting struggles were glaring, Finney-Smith did flash his 3-and-D capabilities in spurts following the trade. He drained five threes to go with nine rebounds and two blocks during a 28-point comeback in Boston, tied for the largest in Nets franchise history.
Shout-out to @doefinney_10 💪
17 PTS | 9 REB | 2 BLK | 5 3PM pic.twitter.com/vZB7A39sLd
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 4, 2023
Despite his slow start with the injured finger, Finney-Smith improved in the playoffs, shooting 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) from beyond the arc.
Regardless of his offensive deficiencies amid the change in scenery, the veteran's defense was as advertised. At 6-foot-7 with a seven-foot wing span, Finney-Smith effectively guards across positions in Brooklyn's switch-heavy scheme. The Virginia native uses his length and quick feet to defend on the perimeter while utilizing his 220-pound frame to bang in the post.
With a 41.5-inch max vertical, he also turned in some highlight blocks off weakside rotations:
🛑 Dorian Finney-Smith with the REJECTION 🛑 pic.twitter.com/pClftK1fdx
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) March 4, 2023
What does the future hold for Finney-Smith?
Finney-Smith is under contract for $28 million over the next two seasons before a $15 million player option in 2025-26. With a wing rotation that already includes Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Royce O'Neale and Joe Harris, league executives believe the Nets could look to cash in on some of their depth this summer. Finney-Smith or Royce O'Neale are the logical candidates to be moved in that scenario.
Brooklyn turned down two first-round picks for Finney-Smith at the trade deadline and could've landed one for O'Neale, according to HoopsHype. During his exit interview, the newly-acquired Net seemed to indicate Brooklyn could be in store for another roster shakeup in the coming months:
“Well, we got to see what's going to happen this offseason, if we're being honest,” Finney-Smith replied when asked how the team can gel this summer. “We know the pieces we have and you just never know in this league. So I guess we're going to see after the draft. See what's going on and go from there.”
Finney-Smith's 2022-23 player grade
Overall, Finney-Smith's shooting struggles were a problematic development for a Nets offense struggling to produce following Durant and Irving's departures. However, his high-level defense remains a resounding positive. As long as his shooting can return to his career average, Finney-Smith should be a valuable role player to Brooklyn or whatever team decides to enter bidding for his services.
Dorian Finney-Smith's 2022-23 grade with Nets: C