O.J. Mayo will have a breakout season in Dallas this year. In fact, Mayo is going to make his first All-Star Game appearance this season.
The reason behind these proclamations is simple. Mayo is going to benefit from the presence of former MVP Dirk Nowitzki. Even at 34, Nowitzki is respected enough as one of the game's best players to command extra attention. That will open things up for a talented athlete and gifted scorer like Mayo.
For Dallas, Mayo gives them a legit second scoring option who can rack up points from anywhere on the court. The former USC Trojan shoots around 38 percent from three and 43 percent from the floor for his career. At just 24, Mayo also represents youth on a veteran-heavy team.
As for Mayo, being in Dallas gives him a chance to be a starter again. Mayo was Memphis' sixth man off the bench the past two seasons and his numbers suffered because of it. Mayo averaged around 11 points per game the last two years. That's about seven points less per game than what Mayo was putting up as a starter for the Grizzlies.
With his lack of ideal size for a shooting guard, Mayo will draw comparisons to the combo guard he's replacing in Jason Terry. However, Mayo's skill set should give Maverick fans flashbacks of another young guard they acquired long ago. That guard would be Michael Finley.
Finley averaged at least 20 points per game in five of his first six seasons with Dallas. He became a starter in his second season with the Mavericks and went on to make two All-Star appearances. Both of those All-Star cameos came while he teamed with Nowitzki.
Granted, Finley also had Steve Nash on the roster during those two All-Star campaigns, but the Mavericks were still very much Dirk's team at that point.
Mayo can replicate the impact Finley had during Michael's nine-year career in Dallas. With Nowitzki's ability to score from deep or in the paint, Mayo can punish teams that try to apply too much defensive pressure on Dirk.
Mayo averaged nearly 18 points a game in his first two NBA seasons when he was a starter in Memphis. With a much better supporting cast around him now, it's feasible that Mayo can boost that number to 20 a game.
Mayo has the skills to be one of the best shooting guards in the game. With a second chance at being an NBA starter, Mayo now has the opportunity to show what he can do. Dirk Nowitzki will lighten the load. It's Mayo's time to shine.
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