5 Reasons O.J. Mayo Is a Perfect Fit for the Dallas Mavericks
Dirk Nowitzki is suffering from knee issues and the rest of the 2010-11 championship roster consists of mainly Shawn Marion, but O.J. Mayo has been the best player for the Dallas Mavericks through this early part of the 2012-13 season.
Based on timing, the need for a young shooting guard and a great deal of solid coaching from Rick Carlisle, Mayo is turning out to be everything this roster needed when management signed him to a two-year deal with a player option.
With his salary at just over $4 million, Mayo is turning out to be one of the biggest bargains in pro sports.
He's in the top tier of scoring and isolation plays so far this season, averaging close to 20 points per game, and is the undoubted focal point of the Dallas attack.
When the move was made, many fans didn't appreciate Mayo because they were all in on Deron Williams coming back to his hometown to team up with Nowitzki. But now, Mayo has become a fan favorite and the sky seems to be the limit once the big German returns to the lineup.
There's a good number of reasons he's the kind of player this lineup needed, and we've got you covered on the five most important reasons why Mayo is a perfect fit for Dallas.
Replacing Jason Terry
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The Jet left the runway and headed for Boston this offseason, a move that was expected throughout Maverick land.
It was unlikely Jason Terry would get the amount of money Boston offered from Dallas, so he made the financial move for his family and his career.
With that 15-point hole in the lineup available for filling, Mayo has taken on the duty of pick-and-roll aficionado and mid-range jump shooter with great success.
Dallas could have easily moped around and accepted the loss of Terry, but instead it signed the former top five draft pick and gave him free reign that he didn't have in Memphis.
Terry is gone, but his timely scoring and ability to beat defenders one-on-one is being taken over by Juice.
Mayo hasn't been the closer Terry was, but he has plenty of time to adjust to that role in the fourth quarter.
Terry was in his late 20s and early 30s when he became that guy, and Mayo just recently turned 25.
Three-Point Shooting Prowess
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Since arriving in Dallas, Mayo has been red-hot from the outside. He's making three-pointers in transition, in isolation sets and off screens.
As Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star Telegram reported earlier this month, Mayo is killing it from the outside the arc.
He's since come back down to earth to the tune of 52.4 percent after the loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, but Mayo is still lighting it up from three-point range.
He's shooting four percent better from the outside than he is from the field, so that's a little bit of a concern, but the three-point percentage is certainly something to brag about.
Three-pointers have been an important part of the offense in Dallas for quite some time, and if Mayo can continue to stretch the floor it will make it easier for the Dallas offense to operate.
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Mayo is in the first year of a two-year contract worth $8 million. He was a cost-effective signing that allows Dallas to remain flexible in the next few summers with free agents like LeBron James coming back into the free-agent pool.
He has a player option for next season, something he will likely exercise if he finishes the 2012-13 season on the hot streak he's currently riding.
That's not necessarily bad news for Dallas.
If the Mavericks deem him worthy, he'll be worth a bigger contract. If not, the financial freedom from his contract and teammates like Chris Kaman and Elton Brand will be enough to land one max player.
Either way, it appears to be a win-win for Dallas. Mayo is turning out to be the best signing of the offseason based on production, and he aims to keep it that way to get a bigger paycheck next summer.
Robin to Dirk's Batman
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For years, the Mavericks have tried to replace the production Michael Finley and Steve Nash contributed alongside Dirk Nowitzki.
They managed to recreate the duo with Jason Kidd and Jason Terry, but no player has emerged to ever carry the load when Nowitzki struggles.
After these first fifteen games, Mayo has done just that.
He doesn't have Nowitzki to fall back on down the stretch or when his shot isn't falling. Chris Kaman has been great and better than expected, but he's no Nowitzki.
Mayo has the confidence and the ability to lead the troops right now, and again when Nowitzki returns to the lineup. As Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas reports, the team wants to give him the ball and let him go to work.
It's the best thing for Dallas, even when Nowitzki returns.
Hope for the Future
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Traditionally, Dallas has loaded up with veteran talent to compliment Dirk Nowitzki and make a run at the NBA title.
It worked in 2011, but left the team crippled when Tyson Chandler, Caron Butler and J.J. Barea left via free agency.
But with Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo now in the fold, the future seems bright.
The contract situation for both is somewhat cloudy, but if the team has success and the young guys develop together, Dallas could be headed for a bond similar to that found on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Additionally, Mayo is helping to mentor younger talent like Jae Crowder and Jared Cunningham while still taking advice from sage veterans Shawn Marion and Vince Carter.
Lets face it—Nowitzki is on the backside of his illustrious career. Mayo has been the guy while Dirk recovers from knee surgery, a role Mayo would assume if Nowitzki took the plunge into retirement in the next few years.
Mayo has the tools. The Mavericks are finally looking towards the future, and Mayo is at the center of that effort.