O.J. Mayo Makes More Sense Than Eric Gordon for the Phoenix Suns

Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2012

MEMPHIS, TN - APRIL 29: O.J. Mayo #32 of the Memphis Grizzlies celebrates after making a three point shot against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on April 29, 2012 in Memphis, Tennessee.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Because the New Orleans Hornets are set to match their offer to Eric Gordon, the Phoenix Suns should now focus their attention on landing O.J. Mayo.

The two young shooting guards are very easy to compare. They entered the league together by way of the 2008 NBA Draft. They're similarly built (Mayo's 6'4", 210 lbs, Gordon's 6'3", 215 lbs). And their numbers are comparable as well.

Before being relegated to a bench role in Memphis in order for defensive-minded Tony Allen to start, the former USC Trojan was actually more effective than Gordon offensively.

Through their first two seasons in the league, when both were starters, Mayo averaged more points, rebounds, assists and steals than Gordon. He also shot a higher percentage from three-point range and the free throw line and was less than one percent behind Gordon from the field.


Eric Gordon16.42.62.945%38%80%
O.J. Mayo183.83.145%38%85%


While Gordon was given a chance to continue to grow in their third season in the league, Mayo's development was stunted by the lineup change that sent him to the Memphis Grizzlies' second unit.

Even still, Mayo's career numbers over his first four years in the NBA are not far behind Gordon's:


  Points Rebounds Assists FG% 3P% FT%
Eric Gordon 18.2 2.7 3.3 45% 37% 81%
O.J. Mayo 15.2 3.3 2.7 43% 38% 82%


And based on the proverbial "eye test", it's hard to claim Gordon is a more naturally talented basketball player than Mayo.

So, from an economic standpoint, Mayo makes much more sense for Phoenix. Gordon recently signed the Suns' offer sheet for a four-year contract worth $58 million. They can probably land Mayo for half that price. 

That will give Phoenix enough money to add one or two other solid free agents playing whatever positions at which they feel they need more depth.

To me, a duo of Mayo and recent Suns signee Michael Beasley is young, exciting, explosive and has lots of potential. 

It would be fun to see them finally live up to the hype they were surrounded by coming out of college.


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