DALLAS -- One solution to Darren Collison’s struggles could be to put the ball in O.J. Mayo’s hands more often.
The Mavericks did that late in Monday’s loss to the Warriors, allowing Mayo to initiate the offense. That could be the beginning of a trend.
“Particularly on night when he’s really going well, we’ve got to give him the ball,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said.
As Dirk Nowitzki noted, Mayo has been better as a pick-and-roll ballhandler when the Mavs signed him. That’ll be especially important once Nowitzki recovers from his arthroscopic knee surgery, as they’ll try to create the two-man-game chemistry Dirk developed over the years with Jason Terry.
At this point, Mayo has proven he’s capable of carrying the Mavs’ offense at times. He’s the seventh-leading scorer in the NBA at 21.8 points per game.
Mayo has done much of his damage from long distance, leading the NBA in 3-pointers made (39) while shooting 58.2 percent from beyond the arc. However, he’s also displayed the ability to create off the dribble, which is how he scored his 11 overtime points Monday against the Warriors.
“When he’s got an advantage,” owner Mark Cuban said, “look out.”
Mayo has a magnificent bargain for the Mavs. He signed for a $4 million salary this season with a player option for $4.2 million next year.
“I don’t want to talk him up too much,” Cuban said, “because I don’t want him to opt out next year.”
Good luck with all that.
Cuban fully expects to be at the negotiating table with Mayo this summer, joking that he has already told “Shark Tank” bosses that he can’t work July 1 again.
Of course, the more pressing matter is maximizing Mayo’s contributions this season, which means putting the ball in his hands more often.