As the Los Angeles Lakers travel to Memphis tonight to battle the Grizzlies, L.A. won't have to face former USC Trojan O.J. Mayo. The guard is currently serving a 10-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance, a suspension that has a week remaining. That is only the latest chapter in what has been a disappointing season for Mayo.
Mayo started 82 games in each of his first two seasons in the NBA, and expectations were high coming into this season. However, in November Mayo was demoted from the starting lineup, relegated to sixth man status. Mayo has seen his minutes drop, from 36.0 minutes per game in 15 starts to 25.2 minutes in 30 games off the bench. In addition, Mayo has been the subject of countless trade rumors for the last few months.
To top things off, Mayo got into a fight with teammate Tony Allen on a plane flight in early January, keeping with the time-honored NBA tradition of scuffling over card games. As a result, Grizzlies' coach Lionel Hollins banned gambling on all team flights, which is about as fun as fishing while sober. When Mayo was suspended for a banned substance, DHEA, he went to the classic defense of claiming the banned substance came from an energy drink he bought from a gas station. However, as sports business guru Darren Rovell of CNBC pointed out last month, none of the top energy drinks even have DHEA in them.
Mayo has career lows this season in points, rebounds, assists, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, three-point percentage, blocks, and steals. Even factoring in his reduced playing time this season, his averages per 36 minutes are all down from previous seasons as well. Maybe this just isn't Mayo's season.
For more information on tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.