So why would the Memphis Grizzles openly shop O.J. Mayo prior to the Feb. 24th trade deadline last season?
The reason is simple.
At this point in Mayo’s career, Memphis believes that he holds more value in trade for the Grizzlies than he does in career contribution.
The various off-court issues definitely didn’t help matters either.
One incident occurred on Nov. 20th, 2010, when Mayo got into a fight during a return flight from Los Angeles with teammate Tony Allen over a card game debt.
Another incident took place on Jan. 27th, 2010, when the NBA suspended Mayo for 10 games due to violating the league’s anti-drug program. Finally, Mayo blamed an over the counter supplement for the failed test.
Regardless of the various off-court transgressions, Memphis made it apparent that they have prepared themselves to move Mayo in drafting Kansas’ Xavier Henry 12th overall in the 2010 NBA draft.
An impact player like O.J. Mayo was too great a talent for some teams to pass up.
Here’s where the Indiana Pacers come in.
Prior to the aforementioned deadline the Pacers and Grizzlies agreed in principle to a deal that would send Indiana’s first-round selection in 2011 and Josh McRoberts to Memphis for the services of O.J. Mayo.
The deal was never fully completed, and the trade deadline came and went.
Do the Indiana Pacers as an organization still have thier eye on the troubled talent?
Are the Memphis Grizzlies even still interested in shopping Mayo?
In the monotonously exploitative time of the NBA lockout, fans and analysts alike are left with nothing but questions and projections.
Here are five reasons why I project the Indiana Pacers to take another hard look at the skill set that a talent like O.J. Mayo can bring to the table.
Mayo is definitely capable of throwing it down at the basket but lacks the explosion to attack the rim and elevate over defenders like the Dwyane Wades or LeBron James of the league.
Though Mayo is by no means a prolific finisher, he has a high basketball IQ that allows him to analyze converging defenders en route to the basket. In analyzing converging defenders, Mayo is talented enough to alter his path of travel successfully utilizing floaters and pull-up jumpers.
It's because of this ability that makes Mayo almost cerebral in his ability to attack and dissect opposing defenses.
But make no mistake, at this point in his career, everything is set up from an efficient jump shot.
I have no quarrels with placing Mayo among the league’s best perimeter shooters. He utilizes a lightning quick, marksman type jump shot that almost always takes his defender by surprise.
Had it not been for a down 2010-11 season, Mayo’s three-year career shooting average from beyond the three-point line would be nearly .390.
In comparison, Ray Allen’s career three-point shooting average is .399.
Mayo’s confidence is evident in his ability to explosively elevate into his jump shot with no regard for the proximity of his defender.
He comprises a shooters mentality necessary to be effective at the NBA level.
He believes that every shot will fall and plays as if he’s never missed.
It’s evident in each game that Mayo takes great pride in his defensive abilities.
Mayo’s high motor, never say die mentality has found him on some of the league’s greatest scorers.
It’s personal for Mayo. What he lacks in size, he makes up in aggressiveness.
His knowledge of the game allows him to take players out of their comfort zones by attacking their strengths and forcing them to constantly adjust throughout the game.
As I alluded to when referencing his ability to attack the basket, Mayo is cerebral in his ability to attack defenses.
And he's been doing it since his days at Huntington High School in Huntington, West Virginia.
Not only can he take his defender to the rim, his elite court vision and ability to anticipate allows him to create opportunities for his teammates.
It’s that very same ability to create that has made players like Jason Kidd and Steve Nash so valuable throughout their careers.
If featured in a Pacers offense with a big man like Roy Hibbert and a scorer Danny Granger, there is no doubt that Mayo could contribute between four to seven assists and 15 to 23 points per game.
Heading into only his fourth year in the league, it is uncertain as to whether Mayo could be the NBA superstar that he was drafted to be.
I believe that if utilized correctly he could be the second coming of Reggie Miller. Mayo's game is almost a mirror image of the former Pacers great.
Both are sharp shooters with a propensity of finding an open shot. Like Miller, I believe that Mayo has the ability to take a game over.
The addition of O.J. Mayo to an already strong Indiana Pacers lineup would make them legitimate contenders for the Eastern Conference crown.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal has reported that the Grizzlies are much more interested in trading Mayo rather than Rudy Gay but haven’t been presented with “a significant upgrade over the third-year guard.”
Mayo will most definitely become a highly sought after commodity once the lockout is lifted.
And the hiring of new Pacers director of player personnel Kevin Pritchard means that the team is serious in acquiring the talent necessary to become perennial contenders in the East.
There is no doubt in my mind that Mayo is capable of a Reggie Miller type impact if in the right situation.