Mar 24, 2014, 12:09 PM EST
When the Bucks signed O.J. Mayo to a three-year, $24 million contract last summer, many complained they didn’t know what they’re doing.
Mayo was the type of decent player who’d keep Milwaukee from tanking and landing the high draft pick necessary to turn around the franchise. And the Bucks were overpaying him to hinder their progress.
In reality, though, he’s been invaluable to their tanking efforts.
His individual contributions have cratered. After averaging .069 win shares per 48 minutes last season, he’s getting a career-low .002 this season.
Team-wide, he’s been even more destructive. When he plays, the Bucks’ net rating is -14.0 (offensive rating: 94.3/defensive rating: 108.3), a mark well-worse than the 76ers’ historically bad season has produced. When he sits, Milwaukee basically turns into the equivalent of the blandly bad Magic (102.9/108.5/-5.6).
Mayo missed 10 games in late January and mid-February due illness and conditioning issues, probably related because it’s obviously difficult to work out when you’re sick. And after returning for a couple weeks, he got six straight DNP-CDs, as conditioning was still an issue.
He finally played against the Kings yesterday, and former Memphis Grizzlies teammate and current Sacramento King Rudy Gay had an interesting assessment of Mayo.
Gay on Mayo, via Jonathan Santiago and James Ham of Cowbell Kingdom:
He’s had a bad season, but he’s still a good player. He’s a little overweight, hasn’t played a lot this season, but he’s still O.J. Mayo in there and I’ve seen him do things like that all the time. So I wasn’t surprised at all. He can hit tough shots. He’s a ball player. He can do it. For whatever reason of how he turned out or whatever, gained a little weight, whatever, he’s still a good ball player.
Was I surprised to see it? Little bit. I haven’t seen him, but we talked a little bit. He said he was hurt, and I guess when you’re hurt in Wisconsin, you eat.
Usually, I’d blame contract status. Mayo played hard in Dallas last season during a contract year. Now that he’s locked up for three years and $24 million, how motivated is he?
But I’ve been to Wisconsin multiple times, and let me tell you, the food there is fantastic. I definitely believe that could have more to do with Mayo’s weight than any contract-related motivational issues.
Bratwurst, cheese curds, hot sticks, butter burgers and beer…
Pardon me. I need to go eat lunch.
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