Memphis Grizzlies shooting guard O.J. Mayo played a big role in the Memphis Grizzlies' spirited second half comeback in their 101-93 overtime victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in game three of the Western Conference Semi-Finals. Grizzlies' head coach Lionel Hollins decided at halftime to start Mayo at the shooting guard position, opting to put Sam Young on the bench instead. Mayo finished the game with an impressive line of 18 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks. Mayo didn't shoot all the well from the field, missing 12 of his 18 shots but he has a big three-pointer during Memphis' run and was able to make some key hustle plays as well.
The decision to start Mayo in the second half was made by Hollins because the Thunder were choosing to lay off of Sam Young to send extra defenders at Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol on the block. In order to prove better spacing Mayo was brought into the game and the Grizzlies big men had a lot more room to operate in the second half. Young did comeback into the game in the fourth quarter and had a huge slam dunk that swung the momentum in the game in Memphis' favor he made just one of his other five shots and finished with just four points.
I've questioned Young's role on this team several times this post-season and after Memphis finally got a big game from Mayo I think it's time to ponder this question: Is it time for Mayo to see an increase in playing time?
Mayo may not have the best numbers in the post-season (sub-40% shooting from the field) but he's averaging double digit points in nine playoff games and he's been shooting the three-ball at an above average clip. Mayo has also played some strong defense whether it be individually on his man or by clogging passing lanes to rack up steals that ignite the break. Mayo held Russell Westbrook to four points on one-of-five shooting when he was on him in the fourth quarter of game three, which was crucial in the Grizzlies victory.
Sam Young is averaging just about the same amount of minutes that Mayo is in the playoffs and he's averaging close to 10 points per game as well. That being said, his jumpshot from beyond 18-feet is shaky and it's allowed the Thunder to leave him without paying for it. Mayo is a better creator both for himself and for his teammates and seems to be doing a better job on the defensive end as well. Young may be a better rebounder and he's gotten to the basket using his pump-fake well in the post-season but I think Mayo is the better overall player and now that he is finally starting to establish a bit of rhythm I think it might be time for him take on a bigger role against a team that has a point guard that can really hurt the Grizzlies if Mike Conley is forced to guard him all game.
The Grizzlies have a pretty strong rotation and everyone has played well. With the success that this team has already had in the post-season perhaps change doesn't make too much sense right now but I think Mayo has earned a few extra minutes with his play this post-season and if he's able to come through perhaps the Grizzlies will finally have something with Mayo after years of waiting for his enormous potential to materialize.
What do you guys think? Does Mayo deserve some more burn or is the Grizzlies' rotation fine as it is?