Looking to improve their point guard play next season, the Memphis Grizzlies have been spending the summer working with O.J. Mayo on his ball handling and decision making. Mayo intends to play a few Summer League games in Vegas to work on his skills to be the backup point guard.
Mayo knows he has a lot to work on:
I’m not scared to say that I’m not the best point guard right now. I’m probably horrible right now mainly because I haven’t played with the ball in three years. But I think through repetition I can be good.
I’ve played with the ball all my life. I got to college (at USC) and coach (Tim) Floyd liked me at the two spot because of how I shoot. Then, I got here and wasn’t able to have the opportunity. We have Mike Conley, who is a great point guard and has been since he was 10. I’m not scared to say that I’m not good at it right now. I just need to work on my ball handling and find a way to dominate the game without scoring.
I’ve been telling some of the guys on the team that I’m not going to be a perfect point guard right away. But I think I’ll get better. I just have to have the opportunity. I’m not trying to step on the heels of Mike Conley. I just want to get better so I can stay on the floor.
And explains what led him to want to get better:
Stephen Jackson was backing me down and hitting jump shots. For the first time in my entire life I had to sit down at the end of a game because I couldn’t guard my man. From that day on, I was like, ‘I have to get better at ball handling and being a lead guard.’ There may be a ceiling for me at shooting guard. Every night I’m battling guys 6-6, 6-7 and it’s kind of tough for me.
Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins explains his thoughts on the move:
We want to see if he can change his mindset and see if his skill level makes him capable of playing the point. I’m not looking at him as the starting point guard or a 30-minute point guard. But the more versatility we have the better our team is so we can keep our main guys on the court longer.
If Mayo is able to develop and improve his skills for next season, he’ll add some much needed versatility, scoring to the offensive end while being a defense nightmare to opposing point guards.