Perhaps you've had your fill of voting by now, but Portland's last game against Dallas brought up an interesting question for me. Since it's an off-day for the Blazers I want to pursue it with you. This year the Blazers signed Nicolas Batum to a $10 million (and up, lasting four years) contract to play small forward. He's 24 years old, now in his fifth year in the league. This year the Dallas Mavericks signed O.J. Mayo to a $4 million contract (steady at that level for two years) to play shooting guard. Mayo is 25 years old, now in his fifth year in the league.
Both players have had a history of intermittent brilliance. Both have a habit of under-performing on nights when they're not brilliant.
There's no question Batum has the more well-rounded game of the two. He defends well most nights, often drawing whichever opponent is giving the Blazers the most trouble scoring. Though Mayo has better assist statistics he's also spent far more time with the ball in his hands than has Batum. Nicolas is the more natural passer. He sees the floor better. He's also a better percentage shooter and edges Mayo in three-point shooting as well.
Mayo can claim the greater superstar power. When he goes off, he goes off. He has a higher scoring average throughout his career and has started this season with some phenomenal displays of offensive power. His area of effect may not be as wide as Batum's but his attack does more damage when it hits.
The commonality between the two: we're pretty sure we've not seen the best of either yet. We don't know how high the ceiling gets nor do we know how either will affect the game when in full flower. Either could become a star. Neither one is a sure thing.
You know the story. You know their performance so far. You know their comparative salaries. You also know the Blazers' current situation. Here's the question: If you were given the opportunity to choose between the two right now, which would you prefer and why? Mayo could look good on this team. Batum would look great playing next to Dirk Nowitzki. Forgetting for a moment that you can't trade the two straight up right now under salary cap rules (but still considering the difference in their contracts) would you make that switch?
You can vote below but please also tackle the discussion in the comment section. We'd like more than thumbs up or down. We want to know why you feel like you do.