O.J. Mayo to the Dallas Mavericks, Are They Contenders Once Again?

MEMPHIS, TN - APRIL 29: O.J. Mayo #32 of the Memphis Grizzlies celebrates after making a three point shot against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on April 29, 2012 in Memphis, Tennessee.  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)
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Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2012

This offseason, the Mavericks have added O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison, Chris Kaman, Elton Brand and Dahntay Jones.

None of those acquisitions had the flair that adding Deron Williams, Steve Nash or Dwight Howard would have had, but they're nothing to scoff at either.

Despite losing their second-leading scorer in Jason Terry, it looks as though the Mavericks should be a better overall team this year.

Collison's numbers dipped quite a bit last year, but he is still a massive upgrade over Jason Kidd. He's about 15 years younger and 15 years quicker and faster. 

O.J. Mayo certainly wasn't on Jason Terry's level last year. However, he didn't really have a chance to be in Memphis, and he was probably the best possible replacement Dallas could have found.

In terms of natural talent, Mayo may be superior to Terry. He was once touted as the next Kobe, MJ, LeBron, etc.

Mayo had a huge freshman year at USC, averaging 21 points, five rebounds and three assists a game. His first two years in the league were explosive as well, as he averaged 18 points a game. Then, his production fell off as he fell out of Memphis coach Lionel Hollins' good graces.

He should thrive in a bigger role in Dallas. I wouldn't be surprised to see his production jump back up to the level it was at during his first two years. That would exceed what Terry did for Dallas last year.

The upgrade in the frontcourt should be obvious. Kaman is at least twice as good as Brendan Haywood. And although Elton Brand is getting older, he's still efficient and the best backup the team's had for Dirk Nowitzki in years.

I would expect the lineup to read Collison, Mayo, Shawn Marion, Nowitzki and Kaman, with Rodrigue Beaubois, Vince Carter, Elton Brand and possibly Brandan Wright coming off the bench.

That roster isn't as glamorous as Miami's, but we've seen Dirk Nowitzki carry a Mavericks squad that all the experts considered ragtag past the ballyhooed Heat before.

 

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