Is there anybody who personifies the schism among Bucks fans better than O.J. Mayo?
It's fitting that he finds himself just below the median point in our rankings. That's where Mayo has been most of his career. Always good enough to find a place on a roster and carve out a decent role, but never much more than that. Mayo is not a featured player on the Milwaukee Bucks' roster, nor should he be. But you also don't want the third-highest-paid player on the team to have some bit part, barely making an impact.
What sort of impact can O.J. Mayo make for this year's Bucks? Milwaukee has a more obvious starting lineup and early rotation at this point, meaning Mayo looks like he'll be almost exclusively a backup shooting guard. That's probably a better situation than last year, when Mayo played nearly a quarter of his time at small forward. The hope has to be that Mayo will play more of a complementary role this season, ceding some of his shot creation to the (hopefully) improved Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greg Monroe post-ups. That should help cut down on his turnovers and maybe bump up his three-pointer frequency and accuracy.
How valuable is an $8 million backup shooting guard whom you don't really want to have doing too much? Well, shooting is always going to be in demand, especially given the rest of Milwaukee's roster makeup. Mayo hasn't been quite as good a shooter with the Bucks as he was prior, but the capability is definitely there. The Bucks have a deep enough rotation at point guard that they can nearly always play him next to another lead guard, which should cut down on miscues at the slight expense of his playmaking (Mayo's 4.2 assists per 36 minutes last season almost matched his career year in Dallas).
Reading all that over, it's clear that Mayo, in isolation, isn't a bad player to have on a roster. He does some things well, things that not every player can do, and he's hardly over the hill. But we ditched young players like Tyler Ennis and Damien Inglis before him and his fellow marginal veterans. Those two are highly unlikely to help Milwaukee win games this season the way Mayo could. And at this point, that's what many people are looking for.
Milwaukee Bucks 2015 Roster Rankings
15. Johnny O'Bryant
14. Tyler Ennis
13. Damien Inglis
12. Miles Plumlee
11. Chris Copeland
10. Jerryd Bayless
9. O.J. Mayo
Cast your vote for the next guy off Bucks Island below. Remember -- production, potential and salary all matter, though you can weigh them however much or little you like. Here's the Bucks' updated cap situation as a refresher: