I couldn't watch the game last night to see how much OJ Mayo literally played point, but I can tell you one thing. The Mavericks will certainly suffer if Mayo's offensive game looks like it did against the Bobcats (4-15, for 13 points), but if he's going to play like he played, it might just be worth it.
Last night, Mayo threw up a prime-Jason Kidd line of 13-9-10. While preseason barely matters, playing the Bobcats barely matters, and playing the Bobcats in preseason matters the LEAST, the fact of the matter is that the Mavericks have a huge hole at the point guard position. Darren Collison will play it, and play it one hopes, relatively well, but Collison is an attacking point. His 4.8 assists per game last year ranked 22nd among point guards. And behind him, it just gets worse.
Mayo is clearly comfortable handling the ball, but has never been asked to be a primary distributor. His 2.7 career assist average is well behind, for example, Jason Terry's 4.6. And though Terry, of course, served as the starting point for a number of teams, he still managed 3.6 last year ,and has never dished less than 3 even the peak of his years as an off-the-bench offensive spark plug.
But we have been hearing murmurs about Mayo's willingness to pass, and murmurs about Carlisle's interest in seeing him facilitate. Now we know the Mavericks have a gaping hole at backup point, and will need to be creative to solve it. Was last night a sign of things to come? PG or SG, is Mayo going to be handed the keys to the offense?
Right now, his nine assists seems like a blip on the radar. He had 1 against the Thunder, and 2 against the Hornets. But on a night when Eddy Curry may have earned himself a starting nod (if Kaman is out) with an 11 point, 7 rebound, 3 block performance hours after arriving in Dallas, we can certainly say stranger things have happened.
And though I don't count +/- as much of a stat, it's worth noting that Mayo's +36 last night is about the highest you're likely to see anywhere.