I wrote about Hasheem Thabeet’s ineffectiveness right before Thabeet put together back to back nice games. I wrote about the MIA shooting guards Xavier Henry and Tony Allen right before Tony Allen returned to the court. In the spirit of being wrong about everything I write here are my thoughts on O J Mayo.
It’s time to face reality. O J Mayo is unhappy on the Grizzlies team and there is nothing the franchise can do about it if winning is a priority this season.
The team experimented with Mayo as a small shooting guard. It had some degree of success (mostly on the offensive end of the court). They have experimented with him as the dynamic scorer off the bench. They have even experimented with him in limited moments at the point. He has not succeeded in any of these roles.
Mayo wants to play point guard but a different type of point guard than Coach Hollins wants from his lead guard. Perhaps he envisions himself as a Chauncey Billups type PG taking the big shots at the end of games and dominating opposing PG’s with his physical size if not his quickness. Perhaps he wants to play a Baron Davis type of PG where he wheels and deals the ball around the court and takes whatever shot he feels like.
He doesn’t want to play SG and he really doesn’t want to guard SGs.
O J Mayo proved in the past he can play as a shooting guard but his recent actions have made it clear that he wants to be a point guard. Nothing else is going to make him happy. His shooting percentages are off and his scoring is down despite being given a green light to shoot. His defense has been erratic at best.
The sad thing is when Mayo focuses he can play defense. The reality is that Mayo was consistently beaten playing the SG all season whether starting or coming off the bench. The Marcus Thornton abuse in New Orleans was just another example of the same story the team has seen all season.
Mayo will show flashes of the offensive game that was such a big part of his first two years in the league (like the showcasing effort in the 2nd half against Chicago) but overall his play is lacking the excitement and energy of his first two seasons in the league.
Either a trade needs to happen or Mayo will play out his contract and leave. There does not appear to be any other option especially if he’s not going to start over Sam Young or at least get starters minutes when not one but two players are injured at that position.
The bench experiment is failing and Hollins needs to understand this. Mayo isn’t playing better and he isn’t giving the bench a spark. There isn’t one statistic that has improved with Mayo coming off the bench. His FG% is down. His 3 pt% is way down. His rebounds, assists, steals and blocks (yes O J can block shots) are all down.
He hasn’t accepted the role and he hasn’t improved the team in this role.
So the front office has to make a decision. Do they continue to squelch any trade value the player has left or do they make a move, no matter how distasteful and embarrassing to Chris Wallace and Mike Heisley, to improve the team right now?