OJ Mayo, Meet the Rookie Wall

by March 12, 2009

by Marcel Mutoni

Rookie wall, meet OJ:

“Can rookie O. J. Mayo get his groove back? Once a serious contender — and frontrunner — for the league’s Rookie of the Year award, Mayo seems to be conceding the honor to Chicago’s Derrick Rose. Mayo’s shooting percentage has declined every month, which includes 40-percent shooting in March.

Lately, Mayo is attempting as many or more 3-pointers than foul shots. He’s got 12 free throw attempts and 10 3-point shots in four games this month. Of major concern is Mayo’s shot selection and weaker-than-usual defense to start games.”

According to Mayo’s coach, though, the rook isn’t entirely to blame for his shooting slump. Poor coaching and Marc Gasol’s stellar play in the paint have something to do with it as well.

From the Commercial Appeal:

“There’s time when he doesn’t get the shot when we call something for him,” Lionel Hollins said. “We have to find ways to make sure he does get his shot. We have to keep working. He has to keep working, and when he does get his shots he has to make them.” Hollins conceded that center Marc Gasol’s emergence in the paint has affected Mayo’s game. The Griz have used the post more to facilitate their offense partly due to a lack of point guard production in reserve.

Whether Mayo gets back on track remains to be seen; what seems more assured is that a certain award is about to make its way to the Chi.