DALLAS – Jason Terry’s career took off when he improved his game after his first season in Dallas.
Mark Cuban believes the same thing could happen for O.J. Mayo.
“At 25, he’s going to get better,” Cuban said of Mayo. “Much, much better.”
If you just look at the numbers, Mayo’s production this season (16.7 PPG, 4.4 APG) stacks up well to what Terry did throughout his eight-year tenure with the Mavs. The most glaring difference, however, was that Terry developed into a dominant clutch player after an inconsistent first season in Dallas, arriving as a 27-year-old in a trade from Atlanta.
“You just can’t replace his kind of experience,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of Terry, who returns to the American Airlines Center tonight with the Celtics.
Mayo has shown he can be a clutch scorer, averaging 27.3 points per 48 minutes this season in clutch situations (last five minutes, score within five points). However, he’s committed way too many turnovers, averaging 3.5 per 48 clutch minutes, a rate that gets alarmingly higher the later close games get.
That’s part of the learning process. And Cuban believes Terry’s development in Dallas should be an example for Mayo.
“They’re completely different players, but I think O.J. can learn a lot from Jet,” Cuban said. “Jet really got better when he became catch and shoot or one dribble and shoot. I think that’s something that O.J. needs to add to his game, and I’ve told that to him.”
Mayo’s work ethic is one thing that can’t be questioned. That’s the primary reason Cuban believes that Mayo, who is extremely likel to exercise his right to be a free agent again this summer, can improve drastically.
“What I love about O.J. is nobody works harder to get better,” Cuban said. “Not just on shooting, which everybody works on, but his knowledge of the game, his dedication to the game. It’s really, really surprised me how committed he is.”