The Dallas Mavericks were left scrambling after failing to net Deron Williams, but in their dash to put together a playoff-caliber team while maintaining financial flexibility, the team may have made the best value move of the 2012 offseason.
Looking for a fresh start and an opportunity to be a starter once again, O.J. Mayo signed a two-year, $8.2 million deal, according to Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas, that is far less than a player of his talent deserves. Mayo should make a more-than-capable replacement in the backcourt for the departed Jasons (Kidd and Terry), and he'll be a perfect sidekick to Dirk Nowitzki.
Coming off of the Memphis bench, Mayo averaged 12.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 36.4 percent from deep. Though those numbers are not stellar, with Dallas, he should shoot back up to the 18.5 and 17.5 points he averaged in his first two NBA seasons.
Mayo is an excellent, versatile scorer. He is capable of penetrating the lane and either creating a high-percentage shot or getting fouled. He should thrive with a big man like Nowitzki, who can free up space in the paint.
In addition, Mayo can act as a facilitator, running the pick-and-roll and making plays in transition to find open teammates running the court. Even with Darren Collison at point guard, Mayo should still spend plenty of time with the ball in his hands.
Over the past two seasons, Mayo has made tremendous strides defensively in the Grizzlies’ aggressive system. He is physical on the perimeter, can force turnovers and should transition well to the Mavs’ defense-oriented culture led by coach Rick Carlisle and Shawn Marion.
At just 24 years old, Mayo still has huge upside and is a legitimate All-Star candidate next season thanks to his scoring ability. If he can continue to grow and mature with Dallas, he should end up as the smartest signing of free agency.