Rudy Gay: O.J. Mayo became overweight because ‘when you’re hurt in Wisconsin, you eat’

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When the Bucks signed O.J. Mayo to a three-year, $24 million contract last summer, many complained they didn’t know what they’re doing.

Mayo was the type of decent player who’d keep Milwaukee from tanking and landing the high draft pick necessary to turn around the franchise. And the Bucks were overpaying him to hinder their progress.

In reality, though, he’s been invaluable to their tanking efforts.

His individual contributions have cratered. After averaging .069 win shares per 48 minutes last season, he’s getting a career-low .002 this season.

Team-wide, he’s been even more destructive. When he plays, the Bucks’ net rating is -14.0 (offensive rating: 94.3/defensive rating: 108.3), a mark well-worse than the 76ers’ historically bad season has produced. When he sits, Milwaukee basically turns into the equivalent of the blandly bad Magic (102.9/108.5/-5.6).

Mayo missed 10 games in late January and mid-February due illness and conditioning issues, probably related because it’s obviously difficult to work out when you’re sick. And after returning for a couple weeks, he got six straight DNP-CDs, as conditioning was still an issue.

He finally played against the Kings yesterday, and former Memphis Grizzlies teammate and current Sacramento King Rudy Gay had an interesting assessment of Mayo.

Gay on Mayo, via Jonathan Santiago and James Ham of Cowbell Kingdom:

He’s had a bad season, but he’s still a good player. He’s a little overweight, hasn’t played a lot this season, but he’s still O.J. Mayo in there and I’ve seen him do things like that all the time. So I wasn’t surprised at all. He can hit tough shots. He’s a ball player. He can do it. For whatever reason of how he turned out or whatever, gained a little weight, whatever, he’s still a good ball player.

Was I surprised to see it? Little bit. I haven’t seen him, but we talked a little bit. He said he was hurt, and I guess when you’re hurt in Wisconsin, you eat.

Usually, I’d blame contract status. Mayo played hard in Dallas last season during a contract year. Now that he’s locked up for three years and $24 million, how motivated is he?

But I’ve been to Wisconsin multiple times, and let me tell you, the food there is fantastic. I definitely believe that could have more to do with Mayo’s weight than any contract-related motivational issues.

Bratwurst, cheese curds, hot sticks, butter burgers and beer…

Pardon me. I need to go eat lunch.

Tyronn Lue says he has secret plan to fix Cavaliers’ defense for playoffs

AP Photo/Phil Long
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Only one team that ranked outside the top 12 in points allowed per possession during the regular season won an NBA title. The 2000-01 Lakers, who were 21st in defensive rating, are the lone outlier.

The Cavaliers rank 22nd in defensive rating this season and have been even worse lately.

But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue says he has a plan. He just won’t reveal it yet.

Lue, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“We’ve got to hold back. We can’t show our hand early because … these are some good teams and we don’t want them to be able to come into a series and be able to adjust to what we do. We just have to be able to play our normal defense until we get there and then we will see what happens.”

Also:

“I think the rebounding hurt us. Rebounding. But it will be different once some other things happen. … Their two-guards, their threes, they still crashed the boards. But we have something to fix that. Just not right now.”

What precisely those plans are, Lue wouldn’t tell us. And here’s the other part — he’s not exactly sure they’ll work.

“I’m not confident, but we’ve got to” get the defense fixed, Lue said. “We have to.”

The Cavs ranked just 10th in defensive rating last season, among the worst marks for an eventual champion. But they cranked up their defense in the playoffs, especially late. Cleveland held the Raptors 4.8 points per 100 possessions below their regular-season scoring rate and the Warriors 7.8 below theirs.

Lue also unleashed a 3-point-heavy attack in the playoffs last year after sitting on the strategy through the regular season.

So, I have some faith Lue will implement a better defensive gameplan when it counts. It also helps to have LeBron James, who can still play elite defense when not in the slog of a long regular season.

But the Cavaliers’ defensive deficiencies right now are glaring. This roster appears to lack defensive potential, and their many miscues keep them well below whatever that potential is.

The challenge in elevating this defense to championship-caliber will be immense, maybe even unprecedented.

Mavericks’ Salah Mejri dunks while getting shoved in the gut (video)

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The Mavericks built a 13-point lead over the Thunder with 3:30left thanks to plays like this Salah Mejri dunk on Nick Collison.

Unfortunately for Dallas, Russell Westbrook happened.

Willy Hernangomez dunks on Andre Drummond, Pistons’ playoff chances (video)

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Andre Drummond and the Pistons couldn’t slow down anything.

Not Willy Hernangomez. Not the Knicks. Not Detroit’s plummeting playoff hopes.

After a 109-95 loss to the Knicks last night, the Pistons — who’ve lost four straight and seven of eight — are 1.5 games and two teams out of playoff position.

Terrence Ross 360 dunks his way back into Raptors fans’ hearts (video)

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In his first appearance in Toronto since the Raptors traded him to the Magic, Terrence Ross did what he has done best throughout his career: Delight Toronto fans with a dunk.

And of course the fans appreciated it, because their Raptors cruised to a 131-112 win.