Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
For two seasons, O.J. Mayo was exiled to the bench in Memphis -- and playing basketball in Memphis is already a form of NBA exile, so it's no wonder the shooting guard became somewhat of an anonymous figure in fantasy circles.
Now he's moving on to Dallas, signing a multi-year deal to play alongside Dirk Nowitzki and the revamped Mavericks.
Dallas initially struck out in all facets of the NBA offseason, including free agency (Deron Williams), the trade market (Dwight Howard) and re-signing its own talent (Jason Terry, Jason Kidd). However, the ever-resilient Mavs have regrouped to bring in Darren Collison, Chris Kaman, Elton Brand, and now Mayo to play around their superstar German forward.
Of those four, Mayo has the best chance to contribute top-10 numbers at his position.
The former No. 3 overall pick averaged 18.0 points, 3.1 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.7 made 3-pointers per game over his first two seasons in the league while starting all 164 games. He also shot 44.8 percent from the field and 84.5 percent from the free-throw line in that span.
Now that Mayo is in Dallas, here's a list of the primary shooting guards I'd rather have if I were drafting for next season right now: Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Monta Ellis, Joe Johnson and James Harden. That's it. Sure, there are other players who will likely be fantasy eligible at SG -- Russell Westbrook and Brandon Jennings come to mind -- that will be more valuable than Mayo, but among primary shooting guards, there aren't many who will be better than Mayo in 2012-13.
Even if Dallas chooses to make Mayo its sixth man, coming off the bench with the Mavericks is different than riding the pine in Memphis.
Jason Terry's role of "energizer" is now vacant with Terry leaving for Boston, so the Mavs may choose to insert Mayo into that spot in their rotation. Terry received starter's minutes in that role, averaging 31.7 minutes per game and 13.2 shots per game last season.
Whether he starts or comes off the bench, Mayo will undoubtedly fill Terry's spot as Dallas' second scoring option after Nowitzki. The 2011 NBA Finals MVP will get 16-18 shots per game, which should leave 13-16 shots to Mayo, including 4-6 threes per game (Terry averaged 5.8 3-point attempts per game last season).
With an expanded role, Mayo will easily duplicate the numbers he put up in his first two seasons in the league, only with more made 3-pointers as the Mavericks tell him to let it fly from beyond the arc -- Dallas was fourth in the NBA with 22.2 3-pointers attempted per game, while Memphis ranked 28th with just 12.9.
That should be more than enough to elevate Mayo from the level of a Ben Gordon or a Manu Ginobili, past the level of a Jamal Crawford or an Aaron Afflalo, all the way up to Ellis/Johnson territory among fantasy two-guards.