O.J. has adapted well to a new set of circumstances.
If you’re a professional competitor, the team you play for always comes first, but anyone with a competitive drive wants to prove they’re the best. When you consider Mayo’s past situation to this one, it may have been more beneficial to the team rather than his individual career.
On a team that had legitimate title aspirations in Memphis, Mayo was looked upon to sacrifice his playing time and ego for whatever was best for the team. Being the professional Mayo is, he took it in stride and accepted his newly appointed role, but obviously the situation wasn’t right for him as a player.
In the summer of 2010, the Grizzlies brought in veteran swingman Tony Allen, a hardnosed, defensive-minded player, and someone the Grizzlies looked to upon to be their stopper on defense. The acquisition of Tony Allen meant Mayo would eventually become the odd man out in the starting line-up, but in retrospect, the move makes sense for that Memphis team.
Looking at that Grizzlies team from a GM’s perspective, they probably wanted to win immediately rather than wait for Mayo to develop into a superstar of some sort, especially when they already had a fringe superstar in Rudy Gay. Since he was just a small part of a larger machine, Mayo could only keep quiet and do his job.
Fast forward to 2012, however, and Mayo’s entire situation has changed. Now that he’s on a team in rebuilding mode, the team’s transition in many ways is reflective of Mayo’s individual transition as a player. Throughout his career, Mayo’s role has shifted to go-to-guy, to role player, and finally back to the scoring catalyst once again.
Since this type of situation is going to be more conforming to a young player like Mayo, there is no pressure on him to deliver a championship to the city, well, at least not yet.