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O.J. Mayo stated that he wants to play point guard going forward. It’s the position he played for most of his basketball career before his freshman year at USC, where roster limitations forced him into playing the off-guard position. He has logged most of his playing time at SG during his four years in the NBA.

Given the fact that he is somewhat under-sized at 6’4″ to play the 2-guard, I can certainly understand why he would prefer to move back to the more familiar position as the lead guard. Having the ball in his hands more would likely make him a more effective scorer, too.

In the moments following Sunday’s series/season-ending loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, many thoughts bounced around in my head. Obviously, not all of them were positive.

However, two things that I was very positive about were: 1) O.J. Mayo will not be in Beale Street Blue next season; and 2) O.J. Mayo is not a point guard.

I’m sure there are people who would love to argue this point with me, but I’m not interested in arguing a point where the evidence is so overwhelming. Anyone who watched Mayo struggle against pressure while bringing the ball up the floor should have recognized that his ball-handling was not up to par to be an NBA-level PG. That alone should have been enough of an indictment.

Yet, if you needed more proof, you had only to look to his inability to make A SIMPLE ENTRY PASS against a single defender in the series against the Clippers. That’s right — he couldn’t pass the ball to his teammate because of the overwhelming size of…….Chris Paul (6’0″) and Eric Bledsoe (6’1″). *sigh* For those of you scoring at home, those two players are both far smaller than Mayo — the kind of guys that he should have a supposed advantage over with his superior height and wingspan.

Just to get all of the cards out on the table: I don’t dislike O.J., but I won’t be sad to see him on another team. I wasn’t a fan of him in college, I didn’t want us to draft him (or trade for him on draft night), and I continue to not understand his insistence on playing a position that he doesn’t have the required skills for. He had a clearly defined role on this team for the majority of the past two seasons: primary bench scorer. Yet, he seemed to practically refuse that role on many occasions for reasons known only to him.

O.J. is a prodigious scorer with a solid three-point shot and great athleticism. He is certainly good enough to be a starter on many teams, including the Grizzlies. However, there are times when a player who is good enough to start is better served to come off the bench for the best interests of THE TEAM. Because it is THE TEAM that wins games, series, championships, not A PLAYER. For whatever reason, this never seemed to jibe with O.J.’s agenda. So be it.

Worst comes to worst, Mayo will sign with another team this off-season as a free agent and the Grizzlies will have nothing to show for it but 4 years of highlights of him in a Memphis uniform. Best case scenario, Chris Wallace manages to get a couple of draft picks or a promising young player for him, although I won’t be holding my breath waiting on that to happen just because of the logistics involved in a sign-and-trade. In any event, the financial situation makes me believe that Mayo is headed out of town sooner, rather than later. If and when that happens, I won’t shed a tear.

The news that assistant coach Dave Joerger is interviewing for the Charlotte Bobcats vacant head coaching position does give me reason for pause though. I wish Dave the best, but I think that particular job is as dead-end as it gets, given the roster, ownership, and fan support there. I hope he doesn’t get it — for his own sake. Let Patrick Ewing or Brian Shaw take on that disaster.

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25 Responses to O.J. Mayo: Point Guard

  1. Andy WatersNo Gravatar says:

    Deuces, Ovinton J’Anthony

  2. LouisNo Gravatar says:

    amen. I have been saying this for a while. When it comes to 3 point shooters of the bench…. We can do better the oj. Wish him the best

  3. GermanGrizzFanNo Gravatar says:

    Totally agree with everything you wrote. OJ isn`t and will never be a NBA-caliber PG, his ballhandling against the Clippers was horrendous. Good luck to him in another uniform!

    Let`s go Grizz!!

  4. RfoxNo Gravatar says:

    trade zach and mayo to Sactown for Tyreke and salary dump – pick up a ray allen to provide outside shooting

    hope one of the kids can develop as a back up PG but you have Evans and Allen that can do that job as well with the second team

    versatile mix and upside

    I think we’ve seen the best OJ can be, he’s a nice player but this team has to get a guy that can make the leap and Evans is better than OJ now, on the outs in Sactown and has upside that OJ can’t hope for.

  5. OinkyNo Gravatar says:

    i wouldn’t be shocked to see OJ in a Lakers uniform next year.

  6. WendellNo Gravatar says:

    I am a diehard fan of O.J. and the Grizzlies, so I will shed a tear for O.J. (more tears for the Grizzlies). We are losing a class act who desperately wanted to be with the Grizzlies. He was forced into a role that most players of his caliber would raise Hyades until traded. If O.J. is not retained the Grizzlies they are continuing the cycle of incompetence, from front office moves to coaching decisions. I sometimes think that mediocrity is the goal. When they drafted O.J., I thought that all of that would change when he was drafted and traded for. Now I will be happy for him when he gets his chance to be a PG. I will be sad for the Grizzlies that they did give him the shot that he deserved coming out of college.

    • ChrisNo Gravatar says:

      hahahahahahahahaha, have you WATCHED him play PG???

      • WendellNo Gravatar says:

        Yes I did and at times it was hard to watch, I but I also saw Mike play the pg and it was equally hard to watch. The pg position was gift wrapped with a bow on it just for him. Conley was given 5 years to develop. That’s all I am saying. Mayo should have been handed the keys when he got to Memphis, because we didn’t have a leader. I believe in O. J., this team should be trying to keep players with heart.

        • Grizz2202No Gravatar says:

          Are you OJ’s mom? You’re OJ’s mom, aren’t you? We don’t need players with heart, we need players with a handle. Your boy doesn’t have a heart, OJ’s mom. :(

          • Grizz2202No Gravatar says:

            Edit: Your boy doesn’t have a handle, OJ’s mom. :(

            C’mon Wendell. I’ve seen your comments, and I’m just pickin’ at you. I know you like OJ, and think he got the shaft. But that’s all water under the bridge now, and you gotta look at the “here and now”. The “here and now” shows that OJ can’t dribble the ball and keep the possession pointing the Grizz’ way.

        • Chris FaulknerNo Gravatar says:

          you mean players like Zbo and Marc Gasol?

        • Chris FaulknerNo Gravatar says:

          hey where was OJ’s heart in that game 7?

  7. AttNo Gravatar says:

    Booooooo. Keep OJ; trade Rudy. While OJ had a bad series, he has been a proven scorer and closer all year. Unlike Rudy who rarely even puts up non-desperation shots in the fourth, OJ consistently puts out maximum effort and has greatly improved his defense. How many defensive assignments has Rudy blown because he’s too busy whining to the officials to get back on defense? Rudy has a terrible attitude and plays ineffective, selfish, isolation basketball; whereas OJ plays the team game and at least attempts to run the offensive sets. Rudy is all about himself. OJ is a true leader; I don’t care if he’s starting or not, but I know I’d rather have a competitor like OJ on my team than have to face off against him. Trade Rudy Gay, the team can’t afford that undeserved contract anyway.

    • kasdNo Gravatar says:

      agree!!! I still believe in the two towers down low. Zach (when healthy) is still a top 5 PF in the league….Marc is a top 5 C….Rudy….maybe top 15 SF yet he earns the most, plays with no heart, passion, or team mentality! The “grit and grind” mentality developed w/o him….and he cannot fit in with it! Too much finesse in his game! OJ deserves some criticism for his play…but not in attitude. And he certainly didn’t lose the series by his lonesome!! Bad coaching moves, selfish play, jumbled identity, confusing lineups, undefined roles all added up to us losing….
      in summary if we trade rudy, let haddadi, arenas walk…. we could keep OJ, MO, and maybe bring in a Andre Miller (backup PG) and a Steve Novak (SF-shooter)….maybe even a late first round pick can be added!!! Rudy opens doors….OJ walking just makes the team weaker……….

  8. GrizzliesDieHardNo Gravatar says:

    O.J. sturggled in the playoffs but most fans prefer to keep him in Beale Street Blue. He’s got a lot of moxy and was stone cold killer for us in the 4th quarter throughout the season. He played his role throughout the season without complaint so the notion he never accepted his role is preposterous.

    Red Coleman, on one hand you cna’t say you won’t miss O.J or shed a tear and then say you have nothing agaisnt the guy. You didn’t like him in college and you didn’t like him in the pros. Therefore, you never liked him and that shapes your very slanted article which ends up on our dependable fan site.

    We would rather read articles regarding Rudy Gay’s negative body language and selfish tendencies or Mike Conley’s inability to guard any point guard we face in any series that read this personal attack on O.J. Mayo, a guy who always laid it on the line for the Grizz. Juice will come back and gun us down w/ the six shooters. Mark my words!!

    • EvanNo Gravatar says:

      |”He’s got a lot of moxy and was stone cold killer for us in the 4th quarter throughout the season. He played his role throughout the season without complaint so the notion he never accepted his role is preposterous.”

      Nailed it. I’ll be the first to say that Juice had probably the worst series for any player in a Grizz uni…however, that doesn’t take away from the barrage of 3s he’s made for us in clutch situations.

      He can shoot the long ball, create his own shot in the mid-range AND get to the rim when he wants (granted it would take more than two hands to count the number of lay-ups he missed in the Playoffs).

      Was he a great back-up PG? Absolutely not, but as mentioned before that’s no fault of his. Give him time and he will shine.

      Hate to see him go.

  9. Chris FaulknerNo Gravatar says:

    Some random OJ thoughts:

    You guys gotta take off your homer-glasses for just a few minutes …. c’mon. There are PLENTY of 2-guards in the NBA that can come in and make clutch shots, shoot better than 36% from 3PT and shoot better than 76% from the line.

    OJ isn’t even top 50 in 3PT% at his position! But he is top 30 in his position at turning the ball over …

    I like OJ a lot. Cool dude, great guy, unlike Red I think OJ has had a fantastic attitude (yeah Red, can you post some evidence for this supposed refusal of his role?) He’s got a nice shot and he’s not afraid to shoot and try to score … BUT …. he’s just NOT THAT GOOD. Especially not #3 in the draft better than Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love good.

    All of OJ’s percentage stats have gone down since his rookie year/since he started coming off the bench. Don’t forget he was relegated to the bench for very poor play to begin with in 2010. So OJ plays less minutes and his play declines, but the overall play of the Grizzlies inclines … and does anyone remember how BAD the Grizzlies record was when OJ was “lighting it up” his first two years?

    I know OJ has had some awesome clutch moments… but in what was arguably one of our biggest games in franchise history this past Sunday .. OJ played absolutely HORRID!!! That was the clutch game we needed … game 7 at home … and he misses a steal/layup in the closing minutes of the game.

    If OJ wants to give us a discount and play for a minimal contract with incentives/bonuses … I’d be okay with it. I like the guy and he’s fun to watch (most of the time). But folks .. I promise we can do much better with the likely $7-$9 million dollars it will take to retain OJ. I don’t know who it is, but I’m willing to bet my Growl Towel that Chris Wallace does.

  10. Red ColemanNo Gravatar says:

    @GrizzliesDieHard — I say that I won’t shed a tear to see him leave because I am not a player fan; I am a Grizzlies fan. When I say that I didn’t like him in college, I mean that I wasn’t a fan of his style of play — nothing against him as a person. O.J. won’t be back for financial reasons, if nothing else, but his insistence on being a PG is enough of a basketball reason to cut him loose.

    @Chris Faulkner — I could pull up statistics of a “shooting guard” who seemingly refused to shoot, despite being the primary scorer off of the bench, but everyone who watched O.J. the last two seasons already had the evidence necessary for that viewpoint, so why belabor the point? I had no issue with his attitude (and didn’t even mention it) — just his ability to fulfill the role that was given to him.

    • Chris FaulknerNo Gravatar says:

      okay so

      “Because it is THE TEAM that wins games, series, championships, not A PLAYER. For whatever reason, this never seemed to jibe with O.J.’s agenda. So be it.”

      You just had an issue with his agenda. I got it.

  11. presidentjoeNo Gravatar says:

    Kinda surprised that no one is seeing that ojs statement at being a pg going forward is his way of saying trade me cause there is no way he wants to keep playing under the present arrangement. He knows that the grizz have no intention of trading Conley. He wants out and this is his way of demanding that to happen. I think his poor play in the series started when Hollins got on him that third game for not making a pass. You could tell he was in free agent mode only. Problem for him is that what team is going to give him big bucks after that series. I think he could have been more of a franchise player than Rudy if he had been allowed to keep his starting position but it was clear Hollins wanted to only develop Conley as a starter. I think it was handled very poorly and the grizz will end up getting very little if anything for him. He should have been traded when they decided to put him on the bench then his stock was much higher. They have put all there wagons to the megacontractors. Nary a star among them.

  12. Chris FaulknerNo Gravatar says:

    I definitely now wish that Ray Allen trade had happened.

  13. O.J.'s momNo Gravatar says:

    I want the team to win more than anything. This team makes a decision to do something, it’s their decision. As a fan I am going to voice my opinion. I don’t agree with a lot of their moves, but I will continue to pull for the home team.

    A bad series doesn’t make a career keep your head up, OJ It’s time for you to be selfish.

  14. ReginaldNo Gravatar says:

    I’d love for us to keep OJ but at his price tag next season, it won’t happen. OJ would be PERFECT for the PG spot if we ran an offense like the triangle or had another player that could bring the ball up the court under pressure. OJ was given the chance to take the PG spot from Conley the last few years. Conley seized it and ran with it while OJ went to the bench. OJ should LOVE to be a 6th man. Offense could run through him and he would more than likely help close games. I wish him the best of luck in his future. Hate he couldn’t be the player we needed him to be.

  15. […] OJ Mayo: Point Guard By Red Coleman On May 16, 2012 · 4 Comments · In May 2012 OJ Mayo stated that he wants to play point guard going forward. It's the position he played for most of his basketball career before his freshman year at USC, where roster limitations forced him … Read more on 3 Shades of Blue […]

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