Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hold the Mayo

Tomorrow night the Minnesota Timberwolves have a crucial decision to make with the third pick in the Nba draft. As a frequent visitor to the Target Center for Twolves games, I have plea for any Timberwolves management team: Forget OJ Mayo.

Here are the arguments for Mayo:
  1. He is the best player available after Beasley and Rose.

  2. He was a top player (maybe the top player) coming into this year's college season. He has a solid jump shot, which is evidenced by his 40% 3 point average and 80% free throw average.

  3. "Can be a lock down defender" - espn.

  4. Is the most desirable (ie. easiest to trade) player (after Beasely and Rose) for potential trade partners.

  5. Received an ACT score (29) that "places him in the 95th percentile nationally." (Side note: This is the same ACT score as a certain anti-Tyler Hansbrough blogger)

I can understand how some people are getting carried away with the hype of OJ Mayo. People who follow basketball have been hearing about this guy since middle school. He almost seems larger than life. I mean who else calls a college (read this great article from the NY Times about his recruitment) out of the blue and tells them that he would like to go to school there. He wanted to play in LA, get media exposure, and make a little money. Only OJ Mayo wouldn't think twice about going to USC despite his first name. On top of that he even picked the same number as the more famous Heisman trophy winning "other" OJ from USC. You might remember the guy below interrupting the 1994 Nba Finals:

I am not writing that he shouldn't have considered USC, but to wear 32 at USC and have the same first name (and it isn't like his name is Dave or anything) takes a lot of gumption. I don't know if I should be taken a back by his audacity or if I should applaud his courage .

The above tangent gets away from the main point about why the Twolves should NOT draft OJ Mayo.

  1. Check out his last high school dunk. For some reason I don't think that display of "sportsmanship" will be appreciated nearly as much in the upper Midwest.
  2. He was suspended "at least three times for fights and other violations." - NY Times
  3. He was suspended for 3 games for allegedly assaulting a referee in high school. (The first three points are all points you might file under character concerns. Note: I am note including the fact that there are allegations that he was paid to go to school at USC by an agent because that should be taken care of in the pros.)
  4. The Twolves already have 6ft 4 inch combo guard Randy Foye (most similar player at age: Anthony Peeler) and 6ft 4 inch shooting guard Rashad McCants (most similar player at age: Keyon Dooling). Do you know what OJ Mayo is? He just happens to be a 6ft 5inch combo guard.
  5. The Twolves have spent the past 3 first round draft picks on wing players. Last year it was Corey Brewer instead of the next set of wings: Thaddeus Young, Julian Wright, Al Thornton, or Rodney Stuckey. The previous year it was Randy Foye instead of Brandon Roy. The year before it was Rashad McCants instead of Danny Granger. Lets just get it out in the open that the Twolves aren't good at drafting wing players. In fact if the Twolves liked OJ Mayo then as another team I would have serious reservations about drafting him.
  6. OJ Mayo averaged more turnovers than assists. Compare that to other top point guards drafted in years past and you will see why that might be concerning. Deron Williams (2.4 assists to turnovers), Chris Paul (2.3 a/t), and Mike Conley Jr. (2.77 a/t) all had worthy numbers to be drafted as a point guard in the top 5.
  7. John Hollinger has OJ Mayo rated below players like D.J. Augustin, Mario Chalmers, Jerryd Bayless, Joe Alexander, and Donte Green. His stat based approach has done better than Nba GMs and is something that would be concerning to me. If you have espn insider check it out.
  8. And as cliche the goes, last but not least: There are better players out there.

Specifically I am jumping on the Kevin Love bandwagon. He is rated high in John Hollinger's scoring system (at the same level as Carlos Boozer and Kevin Durrant) and he would fit in great with the Twolves. Pair him with Al Jefferson and you have formidable front line for the next 10 to 15 years. I can picture his outlet passes to the above-mentioned Twolves combo guards and hopefully elevating their play from below-average to average. He is the complete player who can shoot the ball from the inside and the outside and actually has a better assists to turnover ratio than OJ Mayo.

Why draft a 1st team all Pac-10 team member when you can draft the Pac-1o player of the year? Why draft a selfish combo guard who from all indications would hate Minnesota? Why draft a point guard who isn't a good passer? Kevin McHale, Fred Hoiberg: The front page of the Star Tribune sports section should read: Hold the Mayo. All you need is Love.

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