L.A. pickup ball bonded Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo

DALLAS – The Elton Brand-Chris Kaman pairing isn’t the only Mavericks newcomer duo with L.A. roots that’s reuniting.

Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo played for college rivals UCLA and USC, respectively, but they’ve shared a backcourt in a bunch of summer pickup games. They believe that informal experience will be a factor in forming instant chemistry now that they’re the Mavs’ starting guards.

“It’s going to help make it a lot easier,” Mayo said. “Competing against Darren, I understand he’s a great player and a heck of a competitor. When we play in the summertime at UCLA, we’re actually on the same team a lot of time just because we’re familiar with each other and feel like that can give us an edge in pickup games.”

Collison and Mayo will give the Mavs’ backcourt a much different look.

Collison’s speed and quickness are his best attributes, a stark contrast to old man Jason Kidd, the future Hall of Famer whose shoes Collison is filling. Like Jason Terry, Mayo launches a lot of jumpers, but he’s bigger and better at creating his own shot, although Jet’s been more productive.

Collison has confidence that Mayo can fulfill his potential as a former third overall pick with the Mavs after a disappointing tenure in Memphis.

“He’s been through a lot in his career, ups and downs, but he has that definite fire behind him,” Collison said. “I think O.J. is one of the best two guards in this league. He just hasn’t had that opportunity the last two years to start at a consistent level. Starting here, I think he’s going to have the time to prove that.”

And Mayo’s going to have his pickup buddy to try to help make that happen.