If you’re a fan of the Milwaukee Bucks, you’re very familiar with the struggles that the franchise has gone through over the past 11 seasons, where they’ve had just one winning campaign (2009-10, 46-36). This season, they’re dead last in the NBA, with a horrific 12-49 record. Just when things appeared as if they couldn’t be worse, they did.
The Bucks were already shorthanded due to Ersan Ilyasova‘s suspension for his punch of Reggie Evans that occurred Wednesday, March 5 against the Sacramento Kings. So, to make matters worse, another player lost his cool, although this one likely won’t warrant any additional suspension.
O.J. Mayo was ejected just three minutes after entering the game, when he got tied up with Greg Stiemsma during a screen. Mayo took offense to a screen (which didn’t look bad) and decided to throw an open-hand shot towards Stiemsma’s throat. After review, the foul was deemed to be a flagrant-2 foul, which results in an ejection.
Mayo has been a massive disappointment this year for the Bucks, after the former No. 3 overall pick signed a three-year, $24 million deal with the Bucks this past offseason. He had a bounce-back season in 2012-13 with the Dallas Mavericks and looked like he’d help provide an outside scoring punch to go along with Larry Sanders on the interior.
Instead, Mayo has gone into a shell and hasn’t shown much life at all. It’s as if he just doesn’t shoot well if he can’t start and get into a rhythm. The difference in Mayo’s numbers as a starter as opposed to coming off the bench are pretty amazing:
CAREER SHOOTING LINES (FG/3P/FT)
Take a look at his career stats and pay close attention to the difference between the years that he was a full-time starter and the years he came off the bench. It’s as if he’s a different guy.
Mayo says the right things, but at some point we have to wonder if he’s just remorseful that he got caught as opposed to remorseful for his actions:
“I reacted the wrong way and handled it for sure the wrong way. I want to apologize to the Bucks fan base, the city of Milwaukee and obviously the New Orleans and the (fans) who came out and watched the game. It’s definitely the wrong way to conduct yourself. I’ve got to be better and I will.”
The Bucks aren’t turning this season around. The best they can hope for is to treat the rest of the year like a 21-game schedule and do their best to set themselves up for next year. They can use this time to further develop Giannis Antetokounmpo, at the very least. It can’t get any worse, right?