Dallas Mavericks shooting guard O.J. Mayo has a decision to make this summer. After signing a modest two-year, $8.2 million contract last year with the Mavericks, Mayo made sure to get a player option for the second year in case things didn’t work out for him in Dallas or in the case he had a big season and increased his value on the market. Although Mayo has indeed raised his value, he should stick with the Mavericks at least one more season.
Mayo began the season on fire and was among the NBA‘s leaders in scoring over the first couple months before coming back down to earth in late December, coincidentally around the same time Dirk Nowitzki returned from his knee injury. Mayo went from putting up close to 20 points per game and shooting .472 from three-point range without Nowitzki to dropping to around 15.2 points and .349 from long distance.
A slight dip in production with Nowitzki back was expected, but Mayo’s decline does raise some questions. Look back at his first two seasons in the NBA, and you notice that Mayo was able to put up big numbers on a losing Memphis Grizzlies team, averaging 17 points as the featured scorer. But as soon as the Grizzlies upgraded the roster Mayo seemed to disappear, resulting in him losing his starting spot and his scoring slipping to just 11.9 points per game. That’s a big drop off.
While Mayo’s stats are solid and he can indeed score, history suggests that Mayo thrives best when he is the number one option on a team without much pressure. When the talent around him has been better and the team is winning, Mayo isn’t nearly as effective as a player of his ability should be. For this reason, Mayo should opt into the final year of his contract with the Mavericks and play with Nowitzki for a full season to erase the doubts about his willingness to gel with other above average players.