With Dirk Nowitzki out, something has had to pick up the slack on the offensive end for the Dallas Mavericks. That person has been O.J. Mayo, and he’s been doing a terrific job.

Mayo was originally drafted number three overall in the 2008 draft after playing college ball at USC, but he was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies and played his first four seasons there.

The smooth shooting guard proved he could score the rock, averaging 18.5 points in his rookie year, while shooting 43.8 percent overall, 38.4 percent from three and 87.9 percent from the line.

Things went a little downhill over the next few seasons though, as the Grizzlies brought in new blood, leaving Mayo fighting for his life for more playing time. In the 2010/11 season he averaged 26.3 minutes per game – he averaged 38.0 minutes per contest in his first two years in the league – and put up just 11.3 points a game. Last year, it was more of the same, as Mayo didn’t start one game and averaged 26.8 minutes and 12.6 points.

The Grizzlies let Mayo walk and he opted to sign with Mark Cuban and the Mavericks. There’s no question they’re loving that decision to bring him on board.

In 34.6 minutes per game, Mayo is leading the team with 21.5 points per game. He’s shooting lights out across the board – 49.0 percent overall, 53.2 percent from three and 86.9 percent from the line.

His play has helped the Mavericks hold on in the competitive Southwest Division. They’re currently 7-7 on the season, and you know things are only going to get better once Nowitzki returns to the floor.

Until then, Mayo is going to be counted on to carry the scoring load, and if he can keep doing so, Dallas should be a legitimate team to make the playoffs this season.

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