More Frank Mason III could be prescription for Sacramento success
Arco Arena, the former home of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, had a notoriously noisy reputation, thanks to the cowbell-wielding fanatics who occupied its seats.
Brand-new Golden 1 Center, the Kings’ new permanent residence in California’s capital, hasn’t had the chance to become so renowned yet.
But you know some holdovers from the glory days of Chris Webber, Mike Bibby, Peja Stojakovic and Vlade Divac are just dying to bust out those old noisemakers again.
And much like fictional music producer Bruce Dickinson famously demanded more cowbell during a Blue Oyster Cult recording session fabricated by Saturday Night Live years ago, Kings fans these days have to be clamoring to see more of a certain backup guard.
“Guess what! I’ve got a fever! And the only prescription … is more Frank Mason!”
A recent addition to Sacramento’s regular rotation, the rookie from Kansas continued to endear himself to his team’s fans — and likely teammates and coaches, as well — this week with further examples of his NBA-level merits.
The 23-year-old from Petersburg, Va, followed up an off night in Chicago (5 points, 1-for-6 shooting) this past Friday with consecutive strong showings: 13 points, 3 assists, 4-for-6 shooting at Milwaukee; and 15 points, 2 assists, 4-for-6 shooting at Cleveland.
A former KU All-American, Mason flashed incredible passing and finishing in Sacramento’s loss to Cleveland, while also draining jumpers over both Dwyane Wade and the NBA’s real king, LeBron James.
Sacramento (7-17), near the bottom of the Western Conference standings entering Friday’s game at New Orleans, isn’t winning. That’s hardly any fault of Mason, who is averaging 9.9 points and 3.9 assists in 20.5 minutes over his past 10 games — a stretch during which the 5-foot-11 reserve has shot 49.3% from the floor and nailed 60% of his 3-pointers. The Kings haven’t made the playoffs since 2006 and are in the early stages of their latest rebuild, still less than a year removed from trading away franchise player DeMarcus Cousins.
A second-round pick, Mason actually has proven to be a bright spot of late, helping the Kings’ bench lineups, as detailed by The Sacramento Bee’s Jason Jones.
“If not the same five (players), it’s been like the same three or four,” Mason told The Bee. “I think we’ve been playing pretty well together, first or second unit. We just have to keep doing that, cut out the transition points and take a lot more pride on the defensive end.”
According to the most recent data available from NBA.com, the five-man lineup in which Mason has most appeared for Sacramento puts him with Buddy Hield, Willie Cauley-Stein, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kosta Koufos. That particular combination has a net rating of +7.9, while most of the team’s other frequently-used lineups have massive negative net ratings.
Jones recently argued in The Bee that the Kings need more Mason:
“Frank Mason III continues to show the moment is not too big for him and earns playing time in the fourth quarter of close games,” Jones wrote.
“De’Aaron Fox was drafted to be the face of the franchise, but Mason could prove to be a needed piece in this rebuilding project. His production and intangibles should not be underrated.”