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O.J. Mayo Opens Up About His Struggles Coming Off the Grizzlies Bench


In an interview with ESPN Radio in Dallas, O.J. Mayo waxed on about his new opportunity with the Mavericks and his decreased role with the Memphis Grizzlies over the past two seasons.

Mayo, thanks to Sports Radio Interviews for the transcript, went on to say:

Why have your stats dropped over the past few seasons?

"The dynamics of our team had to change. It’s hard to play with five scorers on the floor. There’s not enough basketball to go around. Our bench was struggling at the time so Coach Hollins thought it was best if I move to the bench and help the scoring load off the bench. To be more aggressive offensively we moved Tony Allen into the two guard position as a defender to take some of the pressure off Rudy [Gay] and Mike [Conley] on the defensive end. At the end of the day I wasn’t happy with the change because you want to start, it’s part of your competitive nature. It happened to work and Coach Hollins wants to win as bad as the players so I didn’t take it as a personal threat or anything. It was best for the team and it meant less minutes so my stats went down."

Yeah, I mean it's no surprise that Mayo wasn't happy with his role off the bench -- we already knew that. I think the question that needed to be asked was why he didn't necessarily accept and embrace his role as one of the top 6th men in the game? I mean, sure he said that he wasn't happy playing fewer minutes, but, c'mon, it's not as if they just took the basketball out of his hands altogether.

In fact, Mayo's Usage Rate was up over the last two seasons and he even took more shots per minute in each of the last two years. So, he was "getting his," albeit in fewer minutes. But you can carve out a highly successful role as a 6th man in the NBA, if you embrace it. James Harden, anyone?

I'll accept that you weren't happy, and naturally with a decrease in minutes you'll see a player's stats fall, relatively speaking. But I think what really upset the Grizzlies fan base was the lack of fight or even acceptance that he was "taking one for the team," for the good of the team, and still being allowed an opportunity to carve out a highly successful role on a championship-contending team.

Can you imagine, too, had he embraced the role and made it so he wasn't so expendable? He lost a $7.3 million, one-year team extension this season and ended up taking $8 million over the next TWO years because he wasn't happy as the team's 6th man. Sounds like, at the very least, a bad business idea to me, no?

Read more of Mayo's interview here!