+ Combo guard with strong outside jumper. Excels coming off pin-downs and curls.
+ Good handle but lacks jets to get in paint consistently. Can play point in a pinch.
+ Struggles on defense: Short for a 2, slow for a 1. Effective guarding big PGs.
Analysis It's been four years, and Mayo has hardly improved since his first day in Memphis -- in particular, the outside shooting stroke that seemed so promising his rookie year has failed to progress. Mayo's 3-point and free throw marks have been on a steady southward trajectory since his rookie season, which is troubling because his best hope of becoming a star was as a Reggie Miller-type shooter.
That's not happening -- he's at 37.5 percent on his career for 3s and doesn't shoot any better on long 2s -- so what we're left with is a decent enough scoring guard but one that isn't necessarily a starter. Mayo scores at a decent clip because he has a good handle and feel for getting to the basket, but he's not a great athlete and doesn't have an explosive first step.
Additionally, efforts to play him at the point haven't borne much fruit. While he can handle the ball, he lacks a distributor's instincts and really struggles to maneuver when quick guards pressure his dribble. According to 82games.com, his turnover ratio nearly doubled when he played the point; the main benefit was a huge uptick in free throws because he could bully smaller guards. The only way he could play point regularly would be in a system that lets other players do much of the ballhandling and mainly required him to spot up -- the Lakers in the Triangle years, for example.
Mayo isn't wowing anybody with his defense either, although there is one niche where he has proved effective: He does solid work against bigger 1s like Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose, and often took that assignment to spare the smaller Mike Conley a beating. Mayo also had strong rates of blocks and steals and a solid rebound rate, so at least he's active. But he struggles in size matchups at the 2 and picks up fouls easily, and his effort level still isn't as consistent as it could be.