Permission To Be Fired Up About O.J. Mayo
Posted Sep 6, 2012

Why are we so fired up about O.J. Mayo? Because we sense that he possesses a full box of colors and is on the verge of being taught to color between the Mavs lines. Our expectations for a guy who isn't 'The Next LeBron' but is about to learn from the right people how to be 'The Next Fin' in Thursday Mavs Donuts:

DONUT 1: We are fired up ...

"Welcome to the family O.J.!'' Dallas owner Mark Cuban tweeted on the evening of Monday, July 16. "We are fired up! MFFL Mavs/Mayo Fan For Life!''

And we are indeed fired up. Why? Well, first off, it's part of our sports body clock. Football has started, which means the NBA cannot be far behind. And indeed, Mayo and the rest of the new guys will meet the media on Monday ... Mavs Media Day is Sept. 28 ... we are just weeks away from the start of Dallas Mavericks training camp ... trips to Spain and Germany and then the start of the season.

We wouldn't even need Spain and Germany to get fired up. The start of any Mavs season -- and this is the beginning of the 14th such journey for -- is a fired-uppable offense.

DONUT 2: But if we had to choose one ...

Of all the Mavs were are excited to see ... well, the old guard comes first. We're excited to talk to Dirk about his sperm count (it's time for an annual checkup, right?) and we're exited to talk movies with The Matrix.

And then there are the kids. We've gotten to know them a bit. This is the time when their potential seems the highest ... when we are weeks from discovering that they are prospects unready to be in Rick's mix.

DONUT 3: Ovinton J’Anthony Mayo ...

But most of all, there is O.J. Mayo.

This is not one of Dallas' famed LIBB deals. You know, like Gerald Green, who hadn't ever accomplished anything. Nor is this a reclamation project, really, the acquisition of some burnout who might find new life in Dallas. (As so many have.) And this sure ain't Lamar Odom. Please don't put us through that again.

No, Ovinton J’Anthony Mayo represents Potential Realized and More Potential Unrealized. He is an NBA rotation player, an established 20-point threat, and is just 24.

If he never does anything more for the Mavs than what he did in Memphis ... well, that would be acceptable. That would make him a very poor-man's Jet. ... except with the strut-about that always indicated O.J. maybe thought he was a rich-man's Jet.

DONUT 4: Working out the strut ...

I am told by folks down in the AAC basement that O.J. and the fellas are working out the strut. That is to say, they are encouraged by Mayo's stated desire to put the performance before the attitude ... to "work to be a star instead of just acting like one.''

That struggle is the explanation for why Mayo lasted as long as he did on the free-agent market before falling into the lap of a Mavs team that, from afar, never much loved his approach to the game. ... an approach likely born of the fact that he's failed to live up to an impossible mythology of O.J. ... a mythology of what he was, is and is supposed to be.
DONUT 5: How would you handle being 'The Next LeBron'? ...

We were told, from cover to cover and from coast to coast, that O.J. Mayo, a magazine darling at age 19, was the heir to LeBron James.

He hasn't been close to that. Doesn't play that style. Needs to be unburdened by that "promise.''

In that regard, O.J. has come to the right place.

DONUT 6: Rick's Mix ...

I say this with no disrespect to any of the fine men who have served as Mayo's coaches, in high school, at USC and even at Memphis, where as a rookie he was an 19-points guy and did help the Grizzlies evolve from NBA joke to Western Conference contender:

Had Rick Carlisle been Mayo's coach all along, Mayo would've learned long ago the benefits of coloring inside the lines ...

DONUT 7: Follow Fish and the Mavs on tonight on Twitter! ...

DONUT 8: ''The Next Finley'' ...

Wouldn't that be a more realistic goal? (I say that with complete respect for Fin, an accomplished player but not a "LeBron.'') Isn't it ideal that as Mayo attempts to become the best conventional starting 2-guard around here since Fin, that he's got the original right there in the basement working with him?

And that he's got "Be Ready'' coach Carlisle as the next step in his training, too. Oh, and I might add that the very professional presence of Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn, and the hard-knocks presence of Delonte West.

I make particular note of Delonte because his path seems so unlike Mayo's. O.J. was, basketball-wise, born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Delonte? Not so much. Yet consider the career West has forged ... and consider that both of them spend this free-agency summer on ice, waiting, waiting ... seemingly unwanted ...

Yes. Delonte and O.J. should have some visits.

DONUT 9: To be worked on ...

There are several things Mayo doesn’t do as well as he is physically capable of doing. The mid-range jumper? That was a Jet specialty and Mayo would be wise to develop it; it would make for a smooth transition into an offense that has long relied heavily on that page of the playbook. Intensity on defense is a must, too; the fastest way for Dallas to improve at the 2-guard from last year is on that end of the floor. And overall efficiency? This is a team that values the way PER speaks. O.J. will want to become fluent.

DONUT 10: The 200-Inch TV screen! ...

The gang at Red Rock Bar & Grill know how to throw a party, that's all I'm sayin'. Live music, sports on the big-big-big screen, and crazy love for the Mavs and the 'Boys. What more do you want?
DONUT 11: But Mayo does ...

Pass. Brilliantly. And unselfishly, for a guy with a rep as a gunner. He's got the sort of handles that Fin never had, that even converted point Jet never had. And he will score, as evidenced by putting up 18.5 and 17.5 points per game in the first two years of his Memphis career. And following in the Jet footsteps, he will make his 3's, as he was a 38-percent guy in his first few seasons.

DONUT 12: The Final Word ...

More than most teams, the Mavs have found success in Second-Chance Charlies. As noted above, they are often has-beens or never-weres.

This is better than that.

O.J. Mayo means a chance to develop a kid from "good'' to "great,'' of re-sculpting his raw talent into the framework of "team,'' of having him winning every inch of Carlisle rope that he earns ...

so yes, welcome to the family, Ovinton J’Anthony Mayo. We are indeed fired up to watch you at camp as you color your way ... but inside the Mavs' lines.

Pop into The Mavs Store! The 'UBERMAN' shirts are cool!

Related Stories
Tuesday Morning Mavs Donuts
 -by  Jul 10, 2012
Mavs Breaking: Discovers Amnesty Twist
 -by  Jul 9, 2012 Video 1-on-1's With Mavs Rookies
 -by  Jul 11, 2012

> Members-only Forums
> Insider Information
> Free Agency &
   Draft News
> Expert Chats

Sign Up Today!

Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Basketball > Dallas
[View My HotList]