Aside from Knicks television announcer Mike Breen discussing how good of a guy and teammate Roger Mason Jr. is, he was an irrelevant figure on the Knicks all regular season. The Knicks signed Mason Jr. in the off season to a one year $1.4 million dollar deal to be a role player off the bench. Mason Jr’s time on the court was nonexistent as he only played a total of 319 minutes in 26 games. When he did play, he was ineffective averaging only 2.9 points per game and shooting 34% from the field.
In many regards, Mason Jr. was a major disappointment considering with San Antonio in the 2008-2009 season, he averaged almost 12 points and shot 42% from three, making 166 of them. His numbers dropped off in 2009-2010, but he still averaged over six points and played 79 games. In Mason Jr’s defense, he was never given a real opportunity to play with the Knicks. We have all learned how Coach D’antoni can designate a player to the bench for a very long time.
Finally in the playoffs, do to all of the Knicks injuries, Mason Jr. received more PT and played much better. In the series against the Celtics, Mason Jr. played in three of the four games and averaged around six points. Maybe if D’antoni gave him more of a shot, the Knicks would have seen better results. I don’t understand how Mason Jr. was good enough to get significant PT with the Spurs and not the Knicks. I guess Mike D’antoni must know more than Gregg Popovich.
Something else I never understood all season was why Mason Jr. was playing point guard. I know the Knicks were desperate for point guard play off the bench, but he is as much of a point guard as Patrick Ewing was. Mason Jr. is a spot up jump shooter and should not be handling the basketball. If given the role to be a shooter, Mason Jr. can be very effective, but having him run the point made no sense and was probably why he never took off all season.
Looking towards next season, if the Knicks need to fill their 11th and 12th spot on the bench at a cheap dollar amount, Mason Jr. can fill that role, but anything beyond that is not necessary. Mason Jr. made $1.4 million last season and there is no way the Knicks should pay him that much, based off last season’s performance. He would have to take a pay cut and that is unlikely. He might decide to go somewhere else where he thinks he can get more consistent PT.
The Knicks can sign a rookie free agent who can do exactly what Mason Jr. did. They can even have Andy Routins fill his role. Additionally, Mason Jr. will be 31 next season, so it is not like he is a young player on the rise. His poor play this season could have been a sign that his career is on the decline. I would rather see the Knicks go with a younger player who has potential upside and eventually develop into a player that can complement Amar’e and Carmelo.