REAL HOOPERS: Michael Finley

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  • SF/SG
  • 6’7, 215 lbs
  • 21st Overall Pick, 1995 NBA Draft (Phoenix)
  • College: Wisconsin
  • Hometown: Melrose Park, Illinois
  • Career Stats: 15.7 ppg, 4.4 reb
  • 2x NBA All Star
  • NBA Champion (2006-07)
  • NBA All-Rookie Team (1995-96)

Standout Seasons: 1997-98, 1999-00, 2000-01

  • 1997-98: 82 GP/ 82 GS, 41.4 MPG, 21.5 PPG, 5.3 REB, 4.9 AST, 1.6 STL, 78.4 FT%, 44.9 FG%, 35.7 3PT%
  • 1999-00: 82 GP/ 82 GS, 42.2 MPG, 22.6 PPG, 6.3 REB, 5.3 AST, 1.3 STL, 82 FT%, 45.7 FG%, 40.1 3PT%
  • 2000-01: 82 GP/ 82 GS, 42 MPG, 21.5 PPG, 5.2 REB, 4.4 AST, 1.4 STL, 77.5 FT%, 45.8 FG%, 34.6 3PT%

One of the integral pieces that transformed the Mavericks from the doldrums of the Western Conference into the model franchise they are regarded as today, Michael Finley is an underrated swingman from the late 90’s and 2000’s.

Finley was drafted in the late first round by the Phoenix Suns in 1995. Finley’s scoring ability, which he illustrated during his college career at Wisconsin (he was the all-time leading scorer until 2007, shout out Alando Tucker), immediately transferred to the NBA. As a rookie, Finley averaged an admirable 15 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 3.5 APG. He became the third rookie in Suns history to score over 1,000 points. Thanks to his stellar rookie campaign, he finished third in ROTY voting and he was a member of All-Rookie First Team.

Fin-Dawg was traded to Dallas in his sophomore season in exchange for Jason Kidd. After their failed Jason, Jim and Jamal experiment, Finley became the heir apparent to the Mavericks franchise. With Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki in tow, Finley would take the Mavs to lofty heights. During the Mavs ‘Run-n-Gun’ era (shout out Don Nelson), Finley developed into a force to be reckoned with. Michael earned All-Star bids in 2000 and 2001. As Nowitzki became an elite force, Finley gracefully transformed into a second-option for the Mavs. In a classic financially conscious Mavs move, Finley was waived in 2005 so the franchise could avoid paying the luxury tax. After playing an important role in transforming one of the NBA’s ‘laughing-stock’ franchises, Finley was dumped to save cash.

As an unrestricted free-agent he was highly sought after. He chose to stay in Texas as he signed with the San Antonio Spurs. Whilst with the Spurs, Fin became an important role player in their 2007 NBA Championship run. In 2010, Finley signed with the Celtics for the final season of his career.

The Mavs are entering a new boom period under the dynamic Luka Doncic and it’s time to reflect on the last elite swingman to don the Mavs uniform. Finley had the bounce, moves, shooting stroke and natural swag that early 2000’s basketball fans crave. He was a ‘Real Hooper’ through and through.

Peep Michael Finley’s ‘Real Hoopers’ Mix below:

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