Minnesota Timberwolves: Would O.J. Mayo be Worth the Risk?

By Ryan Heckman
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason, the Minnesota Timberwolves will need to prioritize a shooting guard high up on their to-do list. There are a few potential candidates, but one of the more intriguing possibilities would be trying to nab Dallas Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo. Mayo came into the league having an enormous ceiling, just needing the right situation and correct coaching.

After starting his first two years with the Memphis Grizzlies, he was demoted to the bench mainly for his inconsistency and occasional poor decision-making. He’s never been a bad player, just not the smartest player overall. He is a career 43.6% shooter including a decent 38.2% from beyond the arc. While those aren’t reflective of what he could be producing, they’re not representative of the worst-case scenario for the young guard heading into a free agency period.

Mayo is still only 25 years old, and for some NBA players that would mean only their second or third year in the league. He still has a lot of time left in his career and still has a lot of potential. Teaming up in Minnesota with head coach Rick Adelman may not be a bad move for either party. Adelman recently recorded his 1,000th career victory with the Timberwolves towards the end of the 2012 season. He’s quite experienced and is phenomenal at creating relationships with his players, thus earning a heavy amount of respect.

Would it be worth the Timberwolves going after Mayo this offseason? I think it just might be. He’s a big, athletic shooting guard that can offer instant offense. Point guard Ricky Rubio may be exactly what Mayo needs to gain more confidence and mature as a player. With Rubio running the offense, Mayo would find plenty of open looks and fast break finishing opportunities. He would also have room to work with much of the focus defensively being on Rubio and power forward Kevin Love.

Regardless of opinion on the issue, Mayo would be an immediate upgrade to the current situation the Wolves are staring at having to start point guard Luke Ridnour all season long at that spot. Ridnour is an experienced and most of the time savvy veteran player, but he is not a true shooting guard. He is also fairly undersized for the position. Bringing a guy like Ridnour off the bench would benefit the Wolves with some experience coming in and giving Rubio a break. Mayo would absolutely love the opportunity to start on an up-and-coming franchise as well.

It will be fun to see what happens in Minnesota, especially now that general manager David Kahn has been relieved. Now that Flip Saunders is the new president of basketball operations, it would be quite the splash and first move if he were to lure Mayo to the Timberwolves.

Ryan Heckman is a writer for RantSports.com covering the NBA and NFL. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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