There was not much hope for the Dallas Mavericks coming into this season. With a plethora of veterans signed to one-year deals, it was unclear as to which direction the Mavs were headed.
With Dirk Nowitzki missing a large chunk of time, it was up to the rest of the team to step up and keep Dallas competitive. While they haven't done a great job, O.J. Mayo has been a bright spot, yet not as of late.
Mayo started the season with a bang, quickly re-establishing himself as a scoring threat by averaging 20.9 points on 49.3 percent shooting, in addition to a phenomenal 50.7 percent from three-point range. He added 3.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists, and looked to be carrying the Mavericks in their franchise star's absence.
Nevertheless, Mayo's contributions have slumped since. While it's seemingly possible opposing defenses are containing him better, it looks to be more of a cool-off period after his hot start. What is most notable, however, is how steeply his accuracy has faltered.
Through December, January and the first two games of this month, Mayo's shooting has dropped to percentages of 44, 47.4 and 37.9 respectively. These numbers aren't horrendous, yet his long-range attempts are abysmal at best.
From downtown, Mayo shot 38.9 percent in December, 34.8 percent in January and 28.6 percent in February. The latter month can't be fully relied on, due to Mayo playing just two games in which he has gone two-of-three against Phoenix and zero-of-four against Oklahoma City. However, there remains a steep decline in terms of his production.
The focus cannot fall solely on percentage however, as they do not tell the whole story. Mayo attempted 5.4 threes per game through November, which have become less and less as the season has progressed. Over the last three months, Mayo's three-point field-goals attempted per game have dipped to 4.8, 4.4 and 3.5 this month.
His overall scoring has remained consistent regardless, hovering around the 17 points per game mark. Mayo's career average on three-point shooting is approximately 38 percent, which is about how he has performed as of late. He remains a threat from deep, and the reality may very well be that there is no issue. Mayo may simply be coming back to earth, after skyrocketing on offense to start the season. In contrast, his lessened attempts from beyond the arc sheds light on the potential defensive schemes of opponents to keep Mayo off the three-point line.
Whichever scenario it may be, the Mavericks are 5-5 in their last 10 and desperately need a spark plug to get them going. Dallas is five-and-a-half games back from the eighth seed in the West, and Mayo must play a major role in getting them there.