[Roger Mason Jr. - via Flickr/Keith Allison]
It’s now being widely reported that Roger Mason Jr. — native son of D.C., attendee of Sidwell Friends/Good Counsel, UVA Cavalier — will soon sign with the Washington Wizards, making it his second stint with the team. Teams can officially sign players at 2 pm on Friday, just before training camp is scheduled to commence. The Post’s Michael Lee reports that Mason will be in Washington, ready to join the team.
How do I feel about this? Iffy, yet content. For one, the signing fits the Ernie Grunfeld mold. The Wizards team president values the presence of veterans, and even though the Wizards hopefully aren’t promising Mason too much court action, nor are overpaying him (the veteran’s minimum, they say, which is just fine), Washington likely offers Mason the most comfort and opportunity over other potential suitors. The Boston Celtics were also said to be interested in Mason; in that situation, Roger might’ve easily found himself relegated to those spillover seats behind the bench, following the inactive dress code, and wondering how and why.
Washington it will be, in an existence of factual acceptance. Speaking of facts, below are some stats regarding the player. While I’m less than enthused about a Roger Mason Jr. signing, in the end I can’t help but welcome back the hometown guy in hopes that he will revitalize the sun-setting of his career, as he turned 31 in September, and I am about 10 weeks older.
- Mason’s most productive season as a scorer is unquestionably his last with the Wizards, 2007-08. In 21.4 minutes per game (mostly off the bench as he played in 80 games, started nine), Mason achieved career highs in PER (13.8), FG% (.443) and Points/36 Minutes (15.3).
- Since leaving Washington, his FG% dropped from .443 to .425 over 82 games his first season in San Antonio, to .389 over 79 games during his second season with the Spurs, and finally, .338 in just 26 games with the Knicks last season.
- While Mason’s 3P% increased from .398 in 2007-08 with the Wizards to .421 the next season with the Spurs, it dipped drastically to .333 with the Spurs in 2009-10, and was .364 during his brief time with the Knicks.
- More disturbing is that Mason’s eFG% has declined from .552 in D.C. to .526 to .478 to .442 in subsequent seasons.
- Mason Jr. is not a replacement for Nick Young. Again, he is 31… veteran guard insurance.
- Sure, you may see him play the point some. He can distribute, and more importantly, take care of the ball, but don’t look for Mason to create a ton, at least not off the dribble. And he will NOT earn trips to the free-throw line.
- According to Synergy Sports Technology, in 2009-10 with the Spurs, when an offensive possession ended in a FGA, TO or FTs for Mason, he produced 1.06 Points Per Possession (PPP) in Spot-Up situations. His production diminished as the P&R Ball Hander (0.73 PPP), receiving the ball via Hand Off (0.68 PPP), in Isolation (0.64 PPP), and Off Screens (0.57 PPP). His numbers with the Knicks tell a similar story, but that’s such a small sample size.
- Put it this way, if the Wizards find Mason and Young sharing the backcourt during spells for some reason, they are likely in trouble.
- Mason can be an adequate defender, but he’s not laterally quick. He’ll need to be a smart, veteran defender.
- If he can resurrect his long distance shooting touch to close to .400 on threes…
- If he can be a threat to shoot off the dribble after receiving the ball deep (and as defenders are running at him), and then create for others/get the defense moving without turing the ball over…
- If he can be a solid veteran guard amongst the youth of John Wall, Jordan Crawford, Shelvin Mack and Nick Young…
…Then Roger Mason Jr. should be worth what the Wizards are paying him (and more).
Better Days Ahead For Money Mase?
Not many can concretely explain why New York Knicks coach Mike D’antoni didn’t use Mason most of the season in New York – again, he appeared in just 26 games, playing 319 total minutes. ESPN’s Chris Palmer writes on Twitter that it was “purely political.” Mason fell so far toward the end of the bench that Knicks fans would mockingly chant his name for entry into the lineup when the game was at hand.
But on March 6, 2011, with New York short of Chauncey Billups and some others due to injury, Mason got 25 minutes of action off the bench. He’d played no more than 15 minutes in a single game up to that point, and only achieved double-digits in minutes three times. Mason’s five fourth quarter points, to go with two blocks and three rebounds on the game, helped New York achieve an important road victory over the Atlanta Hawks that night. [Game Story Via: NY Post]
Including the game against the Hawks, Mason finished the season appearing in 15 out of New York’s 22 remaining games. He played in 233 of his season’s 319 total minutes over the last fourth of the Knicks’ season. In those 15 games he averaged 15.5 minutes, 10.2 PTS/36 Minutes, 2.3 AST/36 and 4.5 REB/36.
His 3p% during said 15 games was .395. The Wizards and John Wall would love to have that available, ready to heat up off the bench whenever needed. Unfortunately Mason’s overall FG% was lower than his long distance percentage at .390, and in 233 minutes and 59 field-goal attempts, he only got to the free-throw line for six attempts (but he did make five of them).
Mason appeared in three of New York’s four playoff games last season as they were swept by the Celtics. He averaged 18.3 minutes per game, 6.3 points, 1.3 rebounds and one assist. He had a 3P% of .385, a FG% of .389 and an eFG% of .528. His PER during those three games was 10.4, which is eons better than the minus-7.4 PER he had in six playoffs games with the Spurs in 2009-10.
The move to bring Mason back to the District is fair, consistent, and okay.
But what do you think?
[Stats via Basketball-Reference.com]