NBA Free Agency 2012: Why O.J. Mayo Makes the Dallas Mavericks a Contender

Chris HummerAnalyst IJuly 17, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 02:  O.J. Mayo #32 of the Memphis Grizzlies attempts a lay up against the Los Angeles Lakers during the game at Staples Center on November 2, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers defeated the Grizzlies 124-105. 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 Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

O.J. Mayo is now a Dallas Maverick, and his addition makes the team a true contender. 

Late Monday night, Mayo tweeted he will be signing with the Mavericks.


I will be signing with dallas! #Mavsnation

— OJ Mayo (@JuiceMayo32) July 17, 2012


This will come as welcome relief to Mavs' fans. Mayo is a reliable scoring option, averaging 15.2 points a game over his four-year career in Memphis.

More importantly, Mayo will slide right into the sixth man role that Jason Terry left vacant when he left to sign with the Boston Celtics.

He served in that role for the Grizzles last season, when he scored 12.6 points a game despite dwindling minutes, and at times, showed a flair for the spot.

Originally, the third overall pick in the 2008 draft, wasn't thrilled about the move, but he embraced it quickly.

Still, Mayo never seemed quite comfortable in the role. That will change in Dallas though. As a Maverick, he will see plenty of minutes and will have the opportunity to close out games like Terry used to do in the "Big D."

However, the addition of Mayo is bigger than just some extra fire power off of the bench. The signing puts Dallas back into the title conversation.

Originally, the offseason looked like a disaster after the Mavericks failed to woo Deron Williams or resign Terry and Jason Kidd.

But Mark Cuban and the rest of the front office managed to right the ship by adding a myriad of impact players over the last week.

Former All-Stars Chris Kaman and Elton Brand make the Mavericks' frontcourt one of the most potent in the league, and Darren Collison gives the team the point guard it desperately needed.

Mayo is the last piece to the puzzle.

He brings a much needed scoring punch to the Mavericks' bench, and provides needed experience and depth in the backcourt.

Add him to a deep guard group that includes Collison, Vince Carter and a young assembly of combo guards from the last few drafts, and the Mavs’ backcourt will be really solid.

Solid doesn't sound great, but it's all it has to be with the talented forwards Dallas has, including, former All-Star’s Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Kaman and Brand.

Mayo does have a few weaknesses.

He has never been the greatest defender, but any player can play defense is Rick Carlisle's system. He puts everyone in the right spot, and even suspect defensive players like Terry thrived.


Plus, Mayo hasn’t been known as the greatest team player throughout his career, and has displayed attitude issues on the court. However, the Dallas locker room is one of the easiest to fit into in the NBA, and Cuban does an amazing job of making his players feel like family.

Mayo certainly isn't the perfect player, but he's just what Dallas required.

He provides instant offense and can complement Nowitzki late in games; much like Terry did for the past eight seasons.

JET and Dirk had plenty of playoff success, and you can expect the combo of Mayo and Nowitzki to do the same.