With the first big signing in the newly christened Larry Drew era, Adrian Wojnarowski dropped a small bomb when he reported that the Milwaukee Bucks reached a 3 year, $24 million dollar agreement with the veteran shooting guard, O.J Mayo. Since the beginning of the free agency period, Mayo was on a small list of free agents that were linked to the Bucks but quickly turned into one of the lone options after the likes of JR Smith (return to the Knicks) and Kevin Martin (Minnesota) signed with different organizations.
While the official contract terms won’t be released until the end of the July Moratorium on July 10th, Mayo should be averaging around $8 to 9 million until the 2015-16 season, which should be Milwaukee’s highest contract until the expected Brandon Jennings contract extension. Despite being the richest man on the roster, the overall terms of the contract matches up relatively well to those of JJ Redick with the Clippers (four years/$27 million) or Kevin Martin in Minnesota (four years/$28 million). What all those guards have in common is their overall above-average offense arsenal combined with less than stellar defensive ability.
Where Mayo fits best as an offensive player would be around the perimeter which is a pleasant change from Monta Ellis who was less than stellar from around the three point line. Mayo’s ability as a floor spacer could actually be a positive effect on the continued progression of Brandon Jennings (pending extension) as an overall offensive player. Below is a quote from my piece after the Redick trade that I think is pretty relevant after the signing of Mayo.
I’ve already discussed why I think Redick should be the starter at shooting guard, but how will he fit alongside of Brandon Jennings? Jennings gets a lot of backlash for being an inefficient volume shooter, but he kind of had to be that way because the Bucks really never have had that type of shooter like Redick. Sure the team has had good shooters like Ilyasova, Dunleavy and even Delfino but he’s never had a true outside threat in the back-court. He’ll have a great partner in Redick to dish the ball off when he’s having an off night.
While the Redick experiment turned into a huge nightmare that will haunt Bucks fans as Tobias Harris continues to grow with the Orlando Magic, they’ll be looking to redeem themselves with O.J Mayo.
One of my biggest issues with Jennings’ four year career with the Bucks would be his lack of progression as an overall penetrator in the half-court game. Whether it would be driving to the basket or penetrating and kicking it out to an open teammate which will hopefully improve as Jennings gets an opportunity to play alongside of Mayo. A career 38% perimeter shooter, Mayo exceeded expectations in his lone season with the Mavericks by posting up a career high 40.7% from beyond the arc. Outside of his perimeter expertise, he’s an average player inside the paint (shot 54.8% from inside the restricted area) but struggles when it comes to getting to the charity stripe (2.9 FTA’s per 36 minutes) compared to predecessor Monta Ellis (4.5 FTA’s per 36 minutes) who thrived on his ability to get to the free throw line.
An unfortunate aspect of Mayo’s overall game would be his lackluster defensive ability. According statistics from Synergy Sports, opponents averaged around .91 Points Per Possession, which is actually worse than that of Monta Ellis and his .79 defensive PPP. Similar to Ellis and Jennings last season, the team will hope that Larry Sanders will be there to be that defensive stopper who will be there to clean up the defensive mistakes that Mayo will make during the season.
The objective going to this offseason was to find a competent shooting guard that can step in and replace Monta Ellis which is accomplished with the signing of O,J Mayo. While he won’t push the Bucks to the next level, Mayo will be a young and relatively cheap shooting guard option for the foreseeable future.