How Dallas Mavericks O.J. Mayo Matches Up Against Each Starting SG in the West
After failing to acquire Deron Williams in the offseason, the Mavericks induced plan b, and signed a plethora of free agents to one-year deals to sure up their roster for the 2012-2013 season.
Perhaps their biggest catch came when they managed to sign former USC standout, and Memphis Grizzlies sixth man O.J. Mayo.
Mayo has gotten off to a hot start this year, and currently ranks eighth in the NBA in scoring at 21.3 PPG.
Mayo has proven that he can be a team's number one option on the offensive end of the ball, and is easily one of the top shooters that the Western Conference has to offer.
The Huntington, W. Va. native is quickly rising up among the best two guards in the league, but just how well does he match up with each of them?
Here is a breakdown of how Mayo stacks up with each starting shooting guard in the Western Conference.
Note: All stats are accurate as of Sunday November 18th.
Andre Iguodala: Denver Nuggets
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Andre Iguodala has consistently been one of the best all-around shooting guards in the NBA during his eight year career.
In his first year in Denver, Iguodala is keeping up his usual performance scoring at 14.2 PPG, and 6.9 RPG.
The Mavericks and Nuggets haven't played yet this year, and won't until Dec. 28. But when they do, a key matchup to watch will be that of Iguodala versus Mayo.
Mayo is a streaky shooter, and Iguodala has gained a reputation for being one of the top perimeter defenders in the game today.
The Mavs may have to run sets in order for Mayo to get many open looks against Denver, because playing one-on-one against Iguodala may not bring the best results for Dallas.
Mayo has done a nice job so far this year of not forcing up too many shots, which is a primary reason why he has been able to keep his field goal percentage high this year. He will need to be particularly smart with his shot selection against a perimeter defender like Iguodala.
On the other end, Mayo will have to deal with Iguodala's strength and force him to shoot from the perimeter if he is going to shut down one of Denver's top offensive options.
Klay Thompson: Golden State Warriors
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Klay Thompson is quickly becoming a player to watch out for in the Western Conference.
Thompson's shooting and scoring ability has led him and Stephen Curry to become one of the most exciting back courts in the NBA.
Thompson is currently seventh in the West among shooting guards in scoring at 15.1 PPG, but as he continues to grow and mature as a player that number should increase.
The night of Nov. 19, Dallas will host Golden State in the two teams' first game of the year.
Mayo will have to keep an eye on Thompson from beyond the arc, where he does the most damage.
In his nine starts this year, Thompson has only gone to the line 23 times total, so Mayo knows he isn't a strong threat to drive into the lane and create contact. However, if left open, Thompson could be deadly.
Thompson, at 6'7", should have the size advantage over Mayo, but Thompson is a weak defender at this point in his career. Look for Mayo to be aggressive in that matchup and try to isolate himself against Thompson in the half court.
James Harden: Houston Rockets
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It's hard to imagine that there has been any shooting guard who has surprised more so far this season than O.J. Mayo, but James Harden has.
After being traded from Oklahoma City to Houston right before the start of the season, Harden immediately made an impact scoring 37 and 45 points in the Rockets' first two games of the season.
Although he has cooled off a little, Harden is still second in the NBA in scoring at 26.7 PPG.
Harden went from being a sixth man with the Thunder, to being the team's top option, much like Mayo has.
Harden is doing his damage this season by being efficient from the field and getting to the free throw line.
Harden is shooting at only 26 percent from three-point range, so you would expect a shooter like him to have a low overall field goal percentage.
However, Harden is shooting at 44.1 percent overall from the field, signifying that he is taking good shots on offense, and scoring from all around the floor.
Harden also is 76-91 from the line this year and is second only to Dwight Howard in attempts from the line.
It would be impossible to expect Mayo to shut down Harden, but if he is going to succeed he will need to try and make Harden shoot from the outside as much as possible. Dallas will likely also need to double Harden at certain points and make other Rockets beat them when the two teams play on Dec. 8.
On defense, Harden tends to be hit or miss. If Mayo can get his shot going early, it could be a battle between the two to see who can end the night with the most points.
Willie Green: Los Angeles Clippers
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It may be unfair to compare Mayo to Willie Green of the Los Angeles Clippers, since Green does not play a majority of the minutes at shooting guard for the team.
Although Green starts, Jamal Crawford is the team's top 2-guard. Green plays most of the game in a sixth man role.
Still, this article is about comparing O.J. Mayo to the starting shooting guards in the West, and with Green there isn't really a comparison to be made.
Green does do a nice job on the defensive end, but on Dec. 5, when the Mavericks travel to LA to take on the Clippers, Mayo should be able to come out of the gates strong early.
Crawford doesn't excel on defense either, so expect Mayo to put up big numbers when Dallas faces LA.
On defense, Mayo will need to be ready for Crawford who averages 18 points off the bench. However when Green is playing, Mayo can afford to play off a little bit more and help on Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, LAC's top threats.
Kobe Bryant: Los Angeles Lakers
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Even at his age, it's still unfair to compare almost any NBA guards with Kobe Bryant.
Bryant is the best player of this decade, and will go down as one of the most dynamic scorers in NBA history.
While Mayo has a chance this year to be an All-Star, and could lead his team in scoring, he is nowhere near the talent level of Kobe Bryant.
When the two teams played in the season opener on Oct. 30, Bryant had a quiet game for his standards scoring only 22 points in the Mavericks win. Still, Kobe was incredibly efficient, hitting 11 of his 14 shots from the field.
Kobe made his impact against Mayo on the defensive side of the ball.
Despite Mayo being the prolific scorer that he has become, he managed just 12 points in that game, largely because of the defense Kobe played on him.
Mayo may end up being one of the top shooting guards in the league in the next few seasons, but Kobe Bryant is still leading the NBA in scoring, and will remain top dog until he hangs it up.
Tony Allen: Memphis Grizzlies
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A large reason why O.J. Mayo is no longer a Memphis Grizzly is that he was unable to crack the starting lineup the last two years in Memphis, and wanted a bigger role.
Preventing him from starting was the team's current 2-guard Tony Allen, who has found a home as a defensive stopper on an 8-1 Grizzlies team.
Mayo is predominantly offensive minded, while Allen cares more about defense, which is why they were able to be an effective one-two punch the last two years.
However, when they face off against each other on Dec. 21, it will be interesting to see if Allen can slow down Mayo now that he is with the Mavericks.
Allen made the All-Defensive NBA First Team last season, and the All-Defensive Second Team in 2011.
This year, he has shown his strength on the defensive side of the ball limiting James Harden to 18 points, Kevin Martin to seven, and Dwyane Wade to eight already.
It's tough to slow down Mayo, but Allen has shown the ability to make it tough on all NBA shooting guards and Mayo should be no exception.
Still, Mayo grabs the edge because of Allen's lack of aggressiveness on the offensive end. Allen averages only 7.4 points-per game, making Mayo the better all-around player.
Malcolm Lee: Minnesota Timberwolves
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The Timberwolves have had a revolving door at shooting guard this year, largely because of injuries.
Right now the starter is rookie Malcolm Lee out of UCLA, who started when the two teams faced off last Monday.
Lee is still finding his rhythm at the NBA level, and is averaging just 3.9 points so far in his career. He has not shown any signs that he will be an offensive threat any time soon.
He, along with Alexey Shved, the Timberwolves sixth man, did manage to hold Mayo to 18 points in Monday's Timberwolves win, while Mayo held Lee to just four in 23 minutes.
Lee is simply not established as an NBA player yet, so Mayo should be able to dominate that matchup when the two play again.
Austin Rivers: New Orleans Hornets
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Hornets lottery pick Austin Rivers has had a bit of a rough go of it in his first seven NBA games.
Rivers is starting for New Orleans, but averaging under 30 minutes played, and seven PPG.
He also is finding it difficult to match up with the leagues shooting guards, a large reason why he isn't seeing the court as much as people may have expected coming into the season.
When he faces O.J. Mayo and the Mavericks on Jan 5, it will be another difficult assignment for Rivers to handle.
Although they both stand 6'4'', Mayo is much more physical and stronger attacking the basket than Rivers, who still needs to bulk up if he is going to become a good defender.
Kevin Martin, James Harden and Monta Ellis are among the guards who took advantage of Rivers lack of defensive ability so far, all scoring at least 22 points against New Orleans.
Expect Mayo to have one of his better games of the season against the rookie Rivers when they match up in 2013.
Thabo Sefolosha: Oklahoma City Thunder
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The Oklahoma City Thunder are another team that brings a sixth man shooting guard off the bench who plays significant minutes.
For OKC that man this year is Kevin Martin, who is fifth amongst Western Conference shooting guards in scoring at 17.1 PPG.
However, the starter is Spaniard Thabo Sefolosha who scores at just over six PPG, and is known throughout the league for his defensive ability.
Sefolosha gave Jason Terry and Vince Carter fits in the teams' first round playoff series last year, and he will give Mayo all he can handle when the Thunder face the Mavericks this year on Dec. 27.
Still, Sefolosha only plays sparingly at 26.4 minutes-per game, as he gives way to Martin late in games, which makes Mayo the clear winner in this matchup.
When the two face off, Mayo will need to keep an eye on Sefolosha's three point shot, his biggest offensive weapon, but will also need to be aware of potential double team possibilities on Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
Jared Dudley: Phoenix Suns
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Much like Sefolosha and Allen, Dudley is a defense first shooting guard who prides himself on being the perimeter stopper on his squad.
Dudley is also a capable three point shooter, but he isn't known to be much of a scorer, and he is only averaging 8.5 PPG this season.
Dallas matches up with the Suns on Dec. 6, and it will be up to Dudley to slow down the Mavericks best scoring option in O.J. Mayo (assuming they don't have a healthy Dirk Nowitzki).
Dudley's minutes have been sporadic this season, but one way he can get solid playing time against the Mavs is to make O.J. Mayo settle for tough jumpers and not let him get to the free throw line with consistency.
At 6'7'' 225 lbs, Dudley should have the size advantage over Mayo and will need to use that to try and force him off the ball.
When the Suns are on offense, Dudley is primarily going to shoot from beyond the arc, so the Mavericks will need to ensure their help defense has an eye on Dudley at all times if Mayo goes off his man.
Wesley Matthews: Portland Trail Blazers
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One of the most consistently underrated shooting guards in the Western Conference is Wesley Matthews of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Matthews is averaging 15.9 PPG this season, and is a consistent threat to go off for 20 points in every game he plays.
The biggest strength that Matthews possesses is his three point shooting ability, as he has hit 154, and 129 (in a shortened season) in the last two years, respectively.
However, Matthews still struggles on the defensive end of the ball.
When the Mavericks played the Trail Blazers on Nov. 5, Mayo went off on the Blazers for 32 points and Matthews played 36 minutes for Portland in that game.
Matthews also showed his capability by scoring 20, but it was Mayo who got the better of him that night.
Tyreke Evans: Sacramento Kings
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Despite averaging nearly 18 PPG in his career, Tyreke Evans is off to a mediocre start in the 2012-2013 season.
The former Rookie of the Year is managing just 11.6 PPG and is shooting under 40 percent for the Sacramento Kings this year.
Evans looks like he could benefit from a change of scenery out of Sacramento, as he has the potential still to be a dynamic NBA scorer.
Part of Evans' problem is that he just has never really improved his jump shot marginally enough to be effective.
Evans is shooting a woeful 15.4 percent from three point land so far this season, and is barely above 25 percent for his career.
When Dallas goes to take on the Kings on Dec. 10, O.J. Mayo will need to pick up on that by playing off of Evan, and forcing the former Memphis standout to beat him with his jumper.
Evans himself is a strong physical presence on the defensive end of the ball, and he will need to need to play tough on Mayo when the two teams square off.
A few years ago, it seemed as though it would be Evans who would be the clear winner between these two in their careers, but now Mayo seems to have pulled far ahead.
Danny Green: San Antonio Spurs
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The Spurs are another team who play a significant contributor off the bench at the 2-guard position in Manu Ginobili.
However, starter Danny Green is getting an increased role this season as Ginobili continues to age.
Green is playing six more minutes a game so far this year, and is averaging over two and a half more points.
He is also being relied upon to shoot game winning shots, as we saw last week against the Lakers.
Green plays perfectly within the Spurs' system and moves well without the ball. Mayo will need to fight through screens and get help from other Dallas defenders to ensure Green doesn't go off for a career game when the Mavs and Spurs play their first contest of the year on Dec. 23.
For a young player, Green is also an above average defensive player, which allows Greg Popovich to be able to play him late in games.
Considering the rivalry that the Mavs and Spurs have, the matchup between Green and Mayo could become heated as the years go on.
Both are young and exciting players, but Mayo is more refined at this point in his career.
Gordon Hayward: Utah Jazz
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Now in his third full season in the NBA, Gordon Hayward is finally developing into the talent that many thought he could be coming out of Butler.
Hayward only ranks 11th in PPG for shooting guard in the West, but still at 13.5 PPG, he is improving his game, and ranks fourth on his team in scoring.
Hayward is shooting an excellent 44.4 percent from the field this season, and may have found his more natural position at shooting guard, after playing small forward to begin his career.
Hayward is much taller than most 2-guards at 6'8'' and stands a full four inches larger than O.J. Mayo.
In the Mavericks second game of the season, Hayward used his length to hold Mayo to just 12 points on 3-9 from the field.
However, Hayward also didn't do much against Mayo, scoring only 11.
Both men's careers are worth tracking from here on out, but Mayo has had a better knack for scoring at the NBA level.