Dallas Mavericks shooting guard O.J. Mayo should not be able to shoot as well as he has over the amount of games he has played this season. At least that is what I keep telling myself, if only to make a previous article I wrote detailing what keeps Mayo from being an NBA star look less erroneous. Still, despite my reservations regarding Mayo’s ability to succeed long-term as a star player, in terms of matching offensive efficiency with a high usage percentage, on an NBA team, I cannot help but start rooting for Mayo if only to extend the amazement I feel every time I look at a box score and see how well he shot during the contest. Yet, even though Mayo’s shooting prowess is worthy of getting excited about, the sad truth is that in all likelihood, it is incredibly unsustainable and will result in Mayo having a succession of poor shooting outings as the basketball universe corrects itself and he regresses to the mean.
Twelve games into an 82-game season, Mayo has posted an effective field goal percentage of 60.4 percent and a true shooting percentage of 64.8 percent, which have been powered by his superlative 58.2 percent shooting on three-pointers. These shooting percentages are good for eight, seventh, and third in the NBA, respectively, as Mayo has established himself as one of the top shooters in the NBA so far this season. Needless to say, if Mayo were to continue to make shots at such an incredible rate for the entire season, he would easily set career highs for himself.
Great shooting does not go unrewarded as Mayo’s shooting has allowed him to be able to produce 117 points per 100 possessions, the second-highest offensive rating on the Dallas Mavericks this season behind Brandan Wright’s 124 points produced per 100 possessions. However, it is the most impressive offensive rating on the roster due to the fact that Mayo is being so efficient while using 25.4 percent of the Mavericks’ plays, which is the highest among the regular rotation players on the Mavericks roster.
Regrettably for Mayo, it is extremely improbable that he will be able to shoot so well from three-point range for the next 70 regular-season games. Even the greatest shooters in the history of basketball would find it beyond their capabilities to make 58.2 percent of their three-pointers over an entire season, and for his career, Mayo has only been an above-average three-point shooter, not an historically great one.
Until Mayo’s shooting numbers regress, it will be a fun ride for him in his first year in a Dallas Mavericks uniform, and we should all marvel at how athletes can continue to surprise us even when we think we know everything we need to know about their ability level.