O.J. Mayo was an assumed loss for the Memphis Grizzlies going into this offseason. Grizzlies fans couldn’t reasonably believe he’d be back, especially after Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace declined to extend a qualifying offer to Mayo. When Mayo signed with the Dallas Mavericks (per ESPNDallas-Fort Worth), Griz fans couldn’t feel anything.
Indeed, Mayo was one of the guys helping push the 2011 Western Conference semifinals against the Oklahoma City Thunder to seven games. He averaged 14.3 points per game and scored at least 14 points in five games.
Sure, he was the only reliable scorer coming off the Grizzlies’ bench. He averaged 12.6 points per game, more than seven points per game more than Memphis’ next highest scoring bench player.
But Mayo wasn’t a very efficient scorer. He needed 11.4 field-goal attempts and 2.6 free-throw attempts per game to get those 12.6 points per game. Also, his 40.8 percent shooting wasn’t impressive.
Wallace has done well preparing for the post-Mayo era.
He drafted Tony Wroten, who, like Mayo, is a combo guard who handles the ball and drops a good amount of buckets.
The key signing for the backcourt was Jerryd Bayless, who, also like Mayo, is a combo guard who handles the ball and puts up points.
Bayless alone can be a complete replacement for Mayo, as long as he stays healthy. Bayless averaged 11.4 points per game in 2011-12. His shooting rates—42.4 percent from the field, 42.3 percent from three-point range and 85.2 percent from the free-throw line—were sound.
Those rates were significantly better than Mayo’s (40.8% FG, 36.4% 3FG, 77.9% FT).
Josh Selby could be another nice scorer off the bench if he comes around after a quiet rookie season. His hot moments in the past season came in the NBDL for the Reno Bighorns, for which he averaged 25.1 points per game. On Monday, he flashed his scoring potential again by scoring 35 points in a Summer League game.
Wallace told The Commercial Appeal that Selby could be a good scorer for the Grizzlies next season.
“He puts points on the board,” Wallace said. “He’s another wild card who might find his way into doing something for you.”
Lionel Hollins will have a few options for bench scoring next season. Bayless should be a solid scorer off the bench. Selby could throw in some points if he shows growth. Wroten can at least attack the basket a bit.
With all that, Grizzlies fans will hear about the guy who used to wear No. 32 and say, “O.J. who?”