The Dallas Mavericks exceeded expectations last season by making it all the way to the Western Conference Finals before ultimately running out of gas against the eventual champion Golden State Warriors.
Now that the team has gotten a taste of championship-level basketball, they want even more heading into the 2022-23 season — just ask Mavs 3-and-D man Dorian Finney-Smith, who signed a four-year, $56 million extension with Dallas in February.
“The whole playoff experience was fun,” Finney-Smith told Mavs.com on Friday at the Mavs Academy Hoop Camp at Prestonwood Sports and Fitness Center. “I enjoyed it, I know everybody on the team enjoyed it, but we want more.
“I want to win the championship. That’s what I’m working for and that’s what everybody’s working for.”
After losing Jalen Brunson, who was a vital part of the Mavs’ long playoff run, to the New York Knicks in free agency, many believe the Mavs could take a step back next season. However, there are still many reasons for optimism as Dallas tries to capitalize on last year’s momentum with a reshaped, bigger roster.
“Now I feel like we’re going to take a huge leap in the rebounding department,” Finney-Smith said when asked about the additions of Christian Wood and JaVale McGee. “Hopefully they won’t take too many of my offensive rebounds.
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“I like to run in there and get a couple of tip dunks. Hopefully we’ll just be better in that area. We need that. I feel like we struggled on the backboards, so that’s going to be good, alongside with our defense.”
Although Brunson’s efficiency will be missed, the Mavs’ defense, which was already great last season, could potentially be even better with Spencer Dinwiddie and McGee moving into the starting lineup. Dinwiddie is four inches taller than Brunson and has a four-inch longer wingspan as well. McGee averaged more points, rebounds and blocks than Powell despite playing six less minutes per game with the Phoenix Suns last year.
Although Wood isn’t known for his defense, his ability to shoot the ball from deep (39%) as either a stretch-four or five, as well as being a potent pick-and-roll option for Doncic, will bring much- welcomed spacing to Dallas’ offence.
“Wood can shoot it, so I feel like he can space the floor and he can roll too,” Finney-Smith said. “I feel like we just added another weapon.
“JaVale as well. He’s a great lob threat. And playing with Luka, I just think he’s going to make (McGee) look that much better.”
The Mavs’ roster could still change some between now and training camp in September, but the guys who are already in Dallas are ready to get things rolling again. Once you get a taste of a deep playoff run, the only way to satisfy that new hunger is to break through and win it all. We’ll see if the Mavs have what it takes.