The Dallas Mavericks got a steal when they signed O.J Mayo to a two-year $8.5 million contract in the offseason. Mayo drew interest from many teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls. He spent his first four seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies where he showed a lot of potential, but never lived up to the hype of being drafted 3rd overall in the 2008 NBA Draft. This is the year i think he makes a name for himself.
When you look at Mayo’s stats the first thing you will notice is that it looks like he is going backwards. In his first two seasons he played in every game (164) and started every game except for one in his rookie season. Mayo got 2nd place in the NBA Rookie of the Year voting in 2009. Who beat him out? Superstar point guard Derrick Rose. Mayo averaged 18 points, 3 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1 steal in 38 minutes a game. He shot 44% from the field and 38% from downtown. Looking at those numbers you would think Mayo was on his way to being the next big thing in Memphis, but it all went in a different direction.
Mayo’s numbers declined dramatically in his final two seasons in Memphis. In 137 games he only started 17 of them. With the addition of other players such as Tony Allen, Mayo’s playing time got cut down by 12 minutes a game, not to mention he lost his starting spot. He averaged just 11.6 points a game, 2.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1 steal in 26 minutes a game. He shot 40% from the field and 36% from three. All of his numbers declined across the board. A kids career that looked so promising, turned into a role playing guard. There were reports that him, the coaching staff and some of this teammates didn’t always get along. Another report came out that Mayo and teammate Tony Allen got into a fight after a game one night. Whatever it was, it made all the hype go away. Mayo was no longer looked at as a potential star, but as a role player.
In Dallas he will return to the Mayo everyone hyped up. The Mayo that had his best years as a rookie and sophomore. The reasons why are clear. Mayo will once again be the starting shooting guard. Him and Dirk will be a 1-2 punch that could potentially drop 40 points combined a night. Outside of those two guys there isn’t really another high volume scoring guy. Mayo will be able to get all the shots he wants. He will have plays ran through him. He will also have the ball in his hands a lot. O.J is going to get a legitimate shot of becoming a top-notch guard in the NBA. And who better to guide him in that direction than Rick Carlisle? Coach Carlisle is one of the better coaches in the NBA. A champion who knows how to get the job done. He’s not afraid to get in a players face and bench them if needed. Mayo needs to buy in to Rick and the Mavericks game plan from day one. If he does, the sky is the limit for Mayo and the Mavericks in the near future.
Mayo has all the talent in the world. He doesn’t have a weakness in his game. All he needs to do is put all together again. Mayo can be a 20-25 point a game scorer if his head is on right. He just needs some guidance and someone to believe in him. The Mavericks fans are some of the best in the league, and soon all of them will fall in love with Mayo on and off the court as he becomes the player people thought he could be just a few years ago.