Why Boston Celtics Need O.J. Mayo More Than Ray Allen
In what can only be described as one of the most shocking moves of the offseason, Ray Allen has left the Boston Celtics to play for their bitter rival Miami Heat, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.
To some, this is the ultimate act of betrayal. Others are simply left questioning what will come of the Heat and whether or not the Celtics can compete.
Fortunately for the Celtics, there is a player available who can help them do such a thing for years to come.
Prior to being delegated to the role of Sixth Man, O.J. Mayo was one of the most promising players in the NBA. He came out firing as a rookie, averaging 18.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He wasted no time re-discovering his form in his second season, putting up 17.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game.
He also shot 38 percent from distance in each of his first two seasons.
Upon losing his starting role to the elderly Tony Allen, Mayo was simply never the same. As a result, Mayo lost his groove and his production took a major hit. What came next could only be expected in this era of overvaluing statistics, as fans and analysts began to write Mayo off as the latest NBA draft bust.
Just slow your roll before you go too far.
O.J. Mayo still has game. The issue is, Lionel Hollins attempted to do what some analysts have suggested for years: The Memphis Grizzlies' head coach attempted to turn Mayo into a point guard. As the Celtics could learn upon inking Mayo to a long-term deal, that simply isn't the proper fit for him.
Who would deserve to start in Boston?
Mayo is a score-first player with a scoring touch that can only be described as "elite." He's an outstanding jump shooter who moves well without the basketball and can put up points from the perimeter or take it in deep for a two in traffic.
While he's far from Ray Allen's caliber, consider him capable of similar contributions.
After Ray Allen's injuries led to the worst postseason shooting performance of his career, it became clear that the 16-year veteran was not invincible. He shot just 39.5 percent from the floor and 30.4 percent from distance. Worst of all, Allen continued to shoot as he averaged 5.1 three-point attempts per game.
Shooting may be Allen's bread and butter, but when the butter isn't spreading, you have to put the knife down.
This presents the Celtics with an opportunity to bring in a player who has long been in need of guidance. With a superstar point guard in Rajon Rondo, a Hall of Famer in Kevin Garnett and one of the game's greatest coaches in Doc Rivers, Mayo will receive just that.
That will opening the door for his superstar potential to be maximized entirely.
The issue that will need to be addressed, of course, is the distribution of playing time. The very undersized but productive Avery Bradley is likely to start at the two after a successful string of games to close out the 2012 NBA season, while Jason Terry is certain to be the Sixth Man.
Unfortunately, neither of those players can offer what O.J. Mayo does in the long run.
Bradley is an outstanding defender who has clearly discovered how to play above his height. Nevertheless, he does create a very undersized back court at 6'2" with Rajon Rondo standing at 6'1".
As many once speculated with Mayo, it could be possible that Bradley is in fact a better fit for the point. His ball-handling is strong enough and court vision above average for players his age.
The question is, where are the minutes?
The acquisition of O.J. Mayo would certainly push the Boston Celtics over the top for years to come. It would also create a struggle for playing time, which Mayo cannot be interested in after his time in Memphis. This calls for a difficult decision to be made as one man loses minutes to make room for the other.
It's time for the Celtics' general manager Danny Ainge to ask himself a serious question. Do you want to compete today or win big tomorrow and the next day? If you answered with the latter, O.J. Mayo is your choice.
O.J. Mayo can be the future of the Boston Celtics. Don't let him slip away again.
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