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Saturday, September 18th, 2010 at 1:00 pm  |  38 responses

Top 50: OJ Mayo, no. 46

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Maurice Bobb / @reesereport

OJ Mayo. Basketball fans/purists either love him or hate him. There’s no in between. Once hailed as LeBron James 2.0, Mayo’s star lost much of its luster during a less than stellar frosh campaign at USC. After his one and done in SoCal, Mayo was billed as overhyped, overrated and erratic lOJ Mayoeading up to the 2008 NBA Draft. As a result, the bball prodigy born Ovinton J’Anthony Mayo fell to No. 3 because the questions about his potential in the L mounted more suspense than Alex Trebek’s Final Jeopardy! round.

But here’s the thing: the former No. 1 high school player in the nation, in the old tradition of “put up or shut up,” put up formidable stats as a rook and avoided the dreaded sophomore slump with an equally efficient year two, which, not surprisingly, made most of his detractors, well, shut the eff up. And while the 6-4, 210-pound combo guard is not the second coming of LeBron or D. Wade or Brandon Roy, he’s no Adam Morrison either. In fact, Mayo has quietly put together a very impressive resume in his short tenure in the League (He is one of only 13 players since 2000 to average 18 points over their first two years in the League). Yet, in an ironic turn of events, the kid who was first mentioned in Sports Illustrated when he was in the seventh grade, considered to be a lock as a lottery pick by the time he entered high school and once bumped his gums to the G.O.A.T. himself, Michael Jordan, during a pickup game at Jordan’s camp is doing the things everyone thought he could do, but this time, no one is paying attention outside of the 901 area code.

Who got the props? Not OJ Mayo. Should he get more love? Let’s do the math:

In his first year, Mayo averaged 18.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.2 apg and 1.1 thefts per. Last year, he averaged 17.5 ppg, 3.8 boards, 3.1 dimes and 1.2 steals. Mayo’s scoring average dipped by one point, but his field goal percentage jumped from 43.8 to 45.8. His shot from behind the arc remained steady, going from 38.4 to 38.3 percent. The former Trojan also scored 20-plus points 31 times last season with a season-high 40 points against Denver. One glaring weakness is his inability or outright refusal to take it to the rack. Mayo only attempted 3.4 and 3.2 free throws per contest in ‘09 and ‘10, respectively and his accuracy from the charity stripe dipped from 87.9 percent to 80.9 percent. If he wants to open up opportunities for his teammates and raise his game to another level, he has to stop settling for the J and venture into the lane and draw some contact. His numbers need to increase to 5 freebie attempts per and 90 percent from the line or he gets a D-. The key number when evaluating Mayo, though, is 82. Mayo played all 82 games in each of his two NBA seasons, a true testament to his durability and his commitment to the game. But the kid out of Huntington, W.Va. didn’t just show up for work, he put in work. With a shot that’s ice-water from the wing, Mayo had no issue with taking on the League’s best in the backcourt and took it upon himself to monitor his shot selection and let the game come to him, making him a big part of why the Grizz improved from a dismal 24-58 regular season record in ‘08-09 to 40-42 last season.

No one is championing Mayo’s game or competitive spirit to be comparable to the level of Kobe Bryant’s, but we can all safely assume his being cut from Team USA this summer will be more than enough kindling to add to his already burning desire to grow as a player. Then there was that thing with the guy in the place that opened up a big can of NCAA sanctions against USC resulting in Mayo’s name getting Houdini’d from the school record books. All things considered, Mayo is a guy who should have a chip on his shoulder the size of the Rock of Gibraltar. Simply put, Mayo is on a mission from here on out and it would be using Lindsay Lohan-like judgment to bet against his continued climb up the NBA talent ladder because despite all the premature praise the media showered on him as a kid and all of the “look at me” antics in high school, this kid is a legit talent and he’s gunnin’ for that No. 1 spot.

SLAMonline TOP 50 PLAYERS OVERALL RANK POSITION RANK
Player Team Position 2010 2009 2010 2009
Ray Allen Celtics SG 50 36 11 10
Gilbert Arenas Wizards SG 49 34 10 9
Lamar Odom Lakers PF 48 33 14 10
John Wall Wizards PG 47 NR 13 NR
OJ Mayo Grizzlies SG 46 46 9 12

Notes
• Rankings are based solely on projected ’10-11 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jeremy Bauman, Maurice Bobb, Erildas Budraitis, Sean Ceglinsky, Ben Collins, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Manny Maduakolam, Eddie Maisonet, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Charles Peach, Branden Peters, Quinn Peterson, David Schnur, Todd Spehr, Kyle Stack, Adam Sweeney, Dennis Tarwood, Tracy Weissenberg, Lang Whitaker, Eric Woodyard, and Nima Zarrabi.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • larrylegend

    since when is this kid overrated?

  • tavoris

    he was coming out of high school. He was largely considered the best prospect since Lebron

  • http://Wizards?! Jos

    He hardly improved in his 2nd year numbers wise. Not sure belongs here

  • http://www.slamonline.com spit hot fiyah

    i don’t love him or hate him

  • rainman10

    non of the guys behind him on the list improved last year either. Consider he put up about 18,3,3 for two years, improved game and numbers is to be expected this season from a top 10 SG like Mayo.

  • http://myspace.com/rsaenz24 RoG23

    @Jos, he hardly improved, but didn’t get worse either. and i think hes already doubled Odens number of games played. so his numbers are fairly consistent. which is important and why i think he is on the list. plus dude can SHOOT IT

  • rich

    iunno but do u guys consider him to be a “shooter” he rarely drives but still remains a very solid player i obviously dont see too many grizz games and when i do theyre against the raps so every1 looks like lebron, i dont see where he gets 18 ppg from lol

  • JTaylor21

    OJ has being CONSISTENT since day one and the reason why his scoring numbers haven’t increased is because of the addition of ZBo, Baby Gasol, and RGay improvements. If he played on a team with less scorer his scoring numbers would be in the mid 20s. How about this ? EGordon or OMayo, I’ll personally take EG because he’s stronger, a better scorer, and finishes better around the rim.

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?clubcode=oly&pcode=AQU GIANNIS BOUROUSIS

    Where is Anna…? THEY say that Anna left us for China…and now, what will happen to us with out Anna…?????

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?clubcode=oly&pcode=AQU GIANNIS BOUROUSIS

    So, there are people considering O.J. better than RAY..!!! Where is the bball police when you need it….

  • PlanetAsia14

    @Giannis: O.J. IS BETTER THAN RAY ALLEN. And if Mayo starts taking it to the rack as mentioned above, he will possibly have a break out season. By the way, he’s the next Kobe if he really puts forth the effort…

  • wottywo

    I know they can’t be saying O.J. is better then Ray, that’s crazy, I know he’s younger but come on. And he isn’t better then Gilbert arenas either, both Ray and Gilbert are hit men when it comes to scoring. Now I can see how he’s better then Odom(Odom doesn’t show up for work every game), and I can see how he’s better the John Wall(how many games have he played as a pro? Oh yea none, but come on Ray and Gilbert?

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?clubcode=oly&pcode=AQU GIANNIS BOUROUSIS

    @planetasia14…:see you when you become planetasia22, 2018. (The Kobe comparison was a jewel,i consider you offered it as a bonus, thanks anyway!!).

  • http://www.twitter.com/notebooknick NotebookNick

    There’s no way he’s ever on Kobe’s level, but he is currently better than Ray Allen.

  • Jessdogg

    you people need to understand that “Rankings are based solely on projected ‘10-11 performance”

  • http://www.google.com/news BETCATS

    Too low imo. If the ranking does not fit, you must acquit. (everything i have typed thus far rhymed, besides this, LOL!)

  • Vinsanity

    I just only hope that Eric gordon is not on this list because he made the USA team and oh didnt

  • Vinsanity

    OJ I mean

  • wottywo

    Ok so this is basically saying that O.J is going to have that type of impact(meaning his production)in the NBA. O.K I get it now, then I’m all for him being above Ray. But not Gilbert.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    i like this player honestly. a very steady player and the range is there from everywhere since rookie year. he needs to put more focus on D since he’s mostly on a disadvantage on his playing spot because of his size. lastly i think they should give him the rock a lot more.

  • The Lord of Nsam (formerly known as Fresh Prince)

    Good writing up Maurice, despite the (over)use of (Reality)TV metaphors and “argotic” language. Ur post definitely helped me know more about OJ who I’ve never seen play. That Stat of 164/164 games played over the last 2 seasons is quite impressive. Is it 2 early 2 call him Iron OJ?

  • http://slamonline.com Maurice Bobb

    @The Lord of Nsam Nice use of the word argotic. Even I didn’t know before writing this that he played in every game. I’d seen him play and knew he wouldn’t get his (much-deserved) shine playing in Memphis. But this kid is for real and can flat out ball. I’m def looking forward to what he does this year…

  • http://slamonline.com Maurice Bobb

    @The Lord of Nsam And I wouldn’t call him Iron OJ just yet. If he plays in every game this season, though, I’m all for it :-)

  • The Philosopher

    He’s Ron Harper and Eddie Jones in one.
    He looks like… Brian Pumper.
    LOLOLOLOL!!!!!

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?clubcode=oly&pcode=AQU GIANNIS BOUROUSIS

    @the philosopher….:hope tihs ron harper ,eddie comparison is a joke..

  • Pingback: OJ Mayo Fan Site | OJMayonnaise.com - Pass the OJ, Hold the Mayo

  • The Philosopher

    @GIANNIS BOUROUSIS:
    You do not want it with me.
    Period.

  • Big D

    How is Crawford not in the top 50 considering what he did from the SG position but Mayo is 46 and ray ray is 49 ?

    Crawford got to the ft line more than both ,shot the three just as well and averaged more points than both while playing 4+ minutes less than Ray and 7 minutes less than Mayo. Last year Ben Gordon AI Arenas all these guys were ahead of Crawford and then a year later he still gets dissed again.

  • jone

    no way john wall is better that rey allen or odom… thats just crazy!!!

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    OJ Mayo is my dude… Nice write-up Reese.

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?clubcode=oly&pcode=AQU GIANNIS BOUROUSIS

    @philosopher: wanna try my little one…??!!(and stop using this nick ,you humiliate my discipline)

  • Grizz Fan

    Good write up. As a Grizz fan I can say that OJ has been a good player for us. IMO I think OJ’s ceiling is a Gilbert Arenas/Brandon Roy type of guard.

  • http://grizzvan.blogspot.com grizzedbyOJ

    Also it should be mentioned OJ is perhaps the most clutch player on the Grizzlies of all time. He has that psychopathic ability of Kobe to completely shut off emotion at the end of games and silence the crowd with a perfect three over the bigger defender. He is our assassin.

  • JD

    Great player no no would’ve predicted 5 years ago that his situation would be like it is now,and dont mean that in a good or bad way. Its difficult to think where he will finally end up in terms when he has reached his full potential though

  • Benji

    Can everyone please stop feeding the troll known as GIANNIS BOUROUSIS. Stop feeding it, and it will die. That is all.

  • John

    Mayo is the Next Kobe gtfo people if you don’t realize that

  • G.R.

    i reakon for memphis grizzlies that the lineup for 2010 is oj mayo (PG), tony allen (SG), Rudy (SF), z-bo (PF) and gasol (C)

  • Avery

    he can be great!

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