Memphis Grizzlies: Stats Say OJ Mayo Still a Great Shooting Guard

Daniel HudsonCorrespondent IIIDecember 5, 2011

MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 07:  O.J. Mayo #32 of the  Memphis Grizzlies celebrates during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on May 7, 2011 in Memphis, Tennessee.The Grizzlies won in overtime 101-93. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

A common misconception about Memphis Grizzlies shooting guard OJ Mayo is that he's done for. Just looking at all the trade talk makes you think he's nothing but a garbage time player.


The Raw Data

It's amazing how powerful the media can be, isn't it? But don't listen to me—let's look at the numbers:

'08-'09 18.5 3.8 3.2 1.1 0.2
'09-'10 17.5 3.7 3.0 1.2 0.2
'10-'11 11.3 2.4 2.0 1.0 0.4

At first glance, it seems that the pundits are right. Apparently, OJ gave up this past year during Memphis' best season in franchise history. He experienced career lows in every category except blocks, where the difference is negligible.


A Deeper Look

But let's add in the minutes per game stat and have a second look:

'08-'09 38 18.5  3.8  3.2  1.1  0.2 
 '09-'10 38  17.5  3.7  3.0  1.2  0.2 
 '10-'11 26  11.3  2.4  2.0  1.0  0.4 

Suddenly things start to look a bit differently. It seems plausible that Mayo's per-game stats were down because his per-game minutes were down by 12 minutes—a full quarter of a game!


Stats Per Minute, Not Per Game

One more table will tell us what his stats would have been had he kept the same pace and played his typical 38 minutes per game:

'08-'09 38 18.5 3.8 3.2 1.1 0.2
'09-'10 38 17.5 3.7 3.0 1.2 0.2
'10-'11 38 16.5 3.5 2.9 1.5 0.6

It's hard to argue with the numbers when they are so clear in their implication: OJ Mayo was still a quality shooting guard last year.

His issues with teammates and the coaching staff may have caused his decreased playing time, but it didn't have an identifiable affect on his production. That's a testament to his will.


We Believe! ...In OJ

Mayo's per-minute stats show that he had a career defensive year during the 2010-2011 season. Isn't gritty defense the hallmark of the Memphis Grizzlies? Doesn't Mayo therefore fit in perfectly?

Let's stop talking about how to get trade value out of Mayo, and instead talk about how he, Xavier Henry and Josh Selby are going to be the most fearsome 2-guard trio in the NBA.