O.J. Mayo was always known as a raw talent with potential attitude issues.
He landed in the NBA after a tumultuous and scandalous ridden stint at the University of Southern California and quickly became known as a second team scorer that needed to grow up. However, this year Mayo has strapped on his big boy boots and is proving he not only belongs in the NBA, but that he is a force to be reckoned with against any team’s starting five.
Mayo has turned up the juice on his offensive attack this season leading the Dallas Mavericks with 19.8 PPG on 47.3 percent shooting from the field and 51 percent shooting from downtown. This is a true blessing for a Dallas team struggling for offense with the continued injury issues to their leading scorer and franchise player, Dirk Nowitzki.
Rumors are already circulating that Nowitzki may miss the entire season as his knee issues continue to prevent him from playing. Initially, he was supposed to return in mid December, but now it is starting to sound like mid January. Even when he does return, there is no telling what type of condition Nowitzki will be in. Nowitzki had issues with conditioning last season after the long layoff and needed more time than most to get his legs back.
Mayo’s most recent heroics for Dallas came Saturday night when he went off for 40 points to lead the Mavs over the surging Houston Rockets. This 40-point performance ties Mayo’s career high and demonstrates his ability to put up All-Star numbers.
The most impressive aspect of his performance was that he took over when it counted by dropping 10 points in the last three minutes of the game. With late game heroics and consistent production like this, Mayo may find himself moving into the category of Dallas’ new franchise player. The era of Dirk Nowitzki may be ending sooner than we think.
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