December 4, 2017, 3:56 pm
Frank Mason has been overlooked for much of his career. Despite his achievements and impressive array of skills, he’s probably always going to be someone who gets overlooked; but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Mason spent most of his time on the bench to begin the season, patiently waiting for his calling. All of a sudden, he’s found himself locked into rotation minutes on a nightly basis.
Over his past 10 games, Mason is playing 19.6 minutes per game with averages of 8.6 points, 3.8 assists and 2.3 rebounds on 46.2 percent shooting from the field. Averages like these can be considered fairly solid for a backup point guard.
Mason is still looking for consistency as far as production is concerned. Some nights he will make the majority of his shots and is commanding the offense. Other nights he can’t hit anything and is making numerous unforced turnovers; at the end of the day it’s what young players do.
Whilst listed at 5-foot-11, a generous 5-foot-11 at that, he certainly doesn’t play like that. Whenever he’s on the floor he’s a ball of energy, trying to make plays on both ends. His energy seems to rub off on his teammates as there’s a different sense of urgency when he’s out there. It’s a big reason why the bench unit has played well of late.
Good Frank Mason: He’s got sneaky quickness that allows him to get to the rim. Despite his size, he’s proven to be a solid finisher at the basket.
His per 36-minute stats are promising too. In the past two weeks (seven games) he’s averaging 16.6 points, 7.9 assists and 4.2 rebounds on 51.1 percent shooting from the field (per 36 minutes). Per 36-minute stats tend to get criticized often, but they’re normally a good indicator for what someone can do when given sufficient playing time.
For context, George Hill averages 12.3 points, 2.9 assists and 3.3 rebounds on 52.5 percent shooting per 36 minutes (last seven games). We’re not going to make an assumption purely based on those stats, but when considering other factors such as on-court impact, you can make a sound argument that Mason is out playing Hill of late.
Mason was always expected to be NBA-ready out of Kansas. He played four years in College and was primed to come in and contribute right away. As his playing time has increased, so has his production and that’s always a sign that a player is comfortable.
Bad Frank Mason: He gets stuck mid-air and throws it away. Sometimes his height can have an impact as he was bothered by the defender. Mason’s release isn’t the quickest either which makes it more difficult.
This isn’t an advocation for Mason to start or anything like that he’s still a backup point guard for now and a solid one at that. It’s simply an ode to his play to this point and the impact he’s having on the team when he steps on the court.
Mason is likely in line for more playing time down the road, but it would depend on a few factors. Hill would probably have to move out of town for such an occurrence to happen. There’s no way Mason’s dipping into De’Aaron Fox’s minutes so you can eliminate that possibility.
Mason will make rookie mistakes from time to time, but he does a lot of good things on the court and at this stage of the season, and his career, it’s all we should really be expecting. Mason has the skills and mentality to be a high-level guard in the league but with the current situation in Sacramento he may have to give it some more time before he can really spread his wings.