FanPost

DON'T PANIC: Mayo is not better than Love

I have a feeling this is going to become a running feature...

Among the moans and cries of the flagellants, I've noted a certain theme arising:  if only we had picked Brandon Roy or OJ Mayo or Danny Granger or, or, or...  I find it interesting, since it is a way to track which players Wolves fan covet the most (personally, I'm waiting for the day people realize we could have had Al Thornton or Rodney Stuckey as well).  And while this is currently brought about by the generally septic condition of our front office, it seems to require a certain tunnel vision to think like this.  Did the Wolves make a mistake with Roy?  Yes, but so did every other team picking ahead of them.  And if you look at the top ten, the Wolves probably ended up with the third best player, which isn't bad for the sixth pick.  Or look at the 2005 draft.  The Wolves could definitely have used Granger, but so could have the Warriors (who picked Ike Diogu) or the Clippers (who picked Yaroslav Korolev).  In the NBA, teams make draft mistakes all the time.  And while it's upsetting for that to happen the Wolves, and it's disappointing that there's no public accountability, it's not the end of the world.  This brings us to tonights featured point:  OJ Mayo is currently being overrated, and (more importantly) Love is underrated.

Right now OJ is probably the second best rookie in the game right now.  But beneath his numbers is one specific issues:  He plays a lot of time.  He currently playing 39 minutes a game, which is more than Al Jefferson and about 190% of Kevin Love's time.  He also is involved with 23% of the possessions in Memphis, which is a phenomenal number.  That's a number of touches your top-5 points guards see, not your rookie shooting guards.  He's been given the keys to the offense (and with cause, since Rudy Gay is the only other scorer on the team, and Mayo's back ups are Buckner and Jaric).  And while I've never been a big believer in the rookie wall (or the sophmore slump, or the junior jump...all players develop at their own pace, guys), I'm wondering what the future holds for Mayo.  Right now, the most similar player at his age is Allen Iverson.  And that's a bad thing for OJ Mayo.  While Iverson came out of the gate amazingly hot back in the day, he never developed much beyond that.  Not that I think he didn't try, I just think he was in full command of his abilities on day 1.  And that could very well be the case for Mayo; a player that is borderline great as a rookie, and just as borderline great 10 years from now.

Now for Love.  The big issue in comparing the two, as I said, is their touches.  Here's a fun game:  look at Love's per game numbers.  Now double them.  That is essentially what you'd be getting if he was getting the same minutes Mayo.  That's a double double from a rookie, with a better AST/TO ratio than Mayo.  Now this is all hypothetical, and ignores something like conditioning, which could very well be an issue for Love if you extended his minutes.  But the simple fact is that Mayo has betters numbers because he gets the ball more often and is given a higher spot in the offensive pecking order.  If you look at Memphis it becomes clear that it is as more of issue of Memphis' personnel problems than Mayo's abilities.  And in a nutshell that is what drives the difference between these two to date.

UPDATE:  Go the superlative http://www.basketball-reference.com and check out Kevin Love's PER to this point.  Now go to Kevin Garnett's page and check his rookie year PER.

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