I have written before about the almost absurd lengths professional sports organizations go to in order to praise recently acquired players. By praising the recently acquired players so heavily, what the sports organizations are really doing is praising themselves for being intelligent enough to identify players they think will help them win future contests. Even when the players are not nearly as good as the organizations choose or want to believe, organizations are careful never to admit that to themselves or to the general public. Pride in their ability to know which players are good and which are not simply will not allow them to.
The latest example of a sports franchise vastly overrating a recently acquired player comes from the Dallas Mavericks whose owner, Mark Cuban, recently stated that he thinks that shooting guard O.J. Mayo will be a star in the NBA. Mayo was signed this summer to a one-year, $4 million contract by the Mavericks.
If Mayo were truly destined to be a star in the NBA, he would have shown it by now. Great players in the NBA do not keep their star potential a secret for four seasons. By that time, they have put their greatness on full display for all of the basketball world to marvel at. The fact that Mayo has yet, in four seasons, to put together even one above-average season efficiency-wise is the biggest indictment against him ever being a star.
Here is what Mayo is just so there is no confusion about what he will really give the Mavericks in the upcoming NBA season. He is a decent, but not elite, shooter from three-point range. For his career, he has connected on 37.5 percent of his three-pointers, but over the past two seasons he has shot 36.4 percent from three-point range so he has certainly not even lived up to the promise of his three-point shooting in his first two NBA seasons.
Even though he might be an average to slightly above average three-point shooter, Mayo does not contribute enough overall to make him an efficient, or particularly, effective offensive player. In his four seasons, Mayo has produced just 105 points per 100 possessions, and even that number is a little misleading because he produced 110 points per 100 possessions in his second season. In his other three seasons, he has never topped 103 points produced per 100 possessions and the most recent two seasons, he has only produced 101 points per 100 possessions. Such a low offensive rating over the past two seasons screams mediocre offensive player much louder than it does future NBA star.
Since offense seems to be the reason why the Mavericks signed him, they will be sorely disappointed when Mayo plays as poorly for them on offense as he did for the Memphis Grizzlies.
If Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks organization were being completely honest with themselves, they would admit that not only is Mayo not a future NBA star, but there are multiple reasons to doubt he is even a good role player. After all, Mayo has yet to even contribute an average number of win shares per 48 minutes, which is the very least one should expect from a player an organization thinks will play well for it. It will be interesting to hear if Cuban still thinks Mayo is great after he has played a full season for the Mavericks.