Pelicans Offseason Update: Roger Mason

Leading up to the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27, Pelicans.com will provide a player-by-player examination of the New Orleans Pelicans, with input from various sources. We’ll review the 2012-13 campaign of each New Orleans player who appeared in at least half of the team’s games, while also looking ahead to the inaugural 2013-14 Pelicans season. Pelicans.com continues its offseason updates by profiling Roger Mason, who provided a steadying veteran presence after signing as an unrestricted free agent during the summer of 2012:

Roger Mason
Key averages: 5.3 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists

WHAT HAPPENED
After a performance in 2011-12 as a Washington Wizards reserve that was fairly representative of his NBA career, Mason was a late-summer signee in August with New Orleans. Known throughout his tenure in the league as a high-caliber perimeter shooter, he more than lived up to that billing, even though his role in 2012-13 often fluctuated, based on injuries and teammates’ production. There must be something about the Western Conference that appeals to the veteran, because his top two three-point shooting seasons of his career have both come in this half of the 30-team league. Mason connected on 41.5 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc with New Orleans, second only to the 42.1 percent he shot with San Antonio during the 2008-09 campaign. He’s spent six of the other seven seasons of his NBA career in the Eastern Conference, playing for Chicago, Toronto, Washington (twice) and New York. Mason’s marksmanship from long range was tops on the team and helped New Orleans finish 11th in the league in three-point percentage (36.3). The oldest player on the Pelicans’ current roster, Mason will officially become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

BEST GAME
Seventeen points in only 16 minutes of playing time. Near-perfection in the shooting department. Mason was at his best and most efficient in a Jan. 9 New Orleans victory over Houston, when he went 6-for-7 from the field (including 3-for-3 from three-point range). For good measure, the 6-foot-5, 200-pounder also grabbed five rebounds. The 88-79 win over the Rockets was part of the team’s season-long four-game winning streak and a highlight of a scorching individual stretch in which Mason went 18-for-25 on three-point tries (72 percent).



FIRST PERSON COACH’S TAKE BROADCASTER'S VIEW
"I worked hard in the (2012) offseason and had some good opportunities this season, playing with some guys who got me some good looks. I was focused. We always emphasize here that you always have to be prepared to play and be professional. I was blessed to be able to shoot the ball well this season. (My 2013 offseason) focus is just to continue to work and continue to try to get better as a player. I think you can always improve on your overall game. I want to keep my conditioning where it’s at – my body feels great and it was an injury-free year for me." – Roger Mason "He’s a pro. When he first talked to us about coming here, I kind of explained to him that there might be times when he wouldn’t play. He’s been in this situation before. The one thing he can do is put the ball in the hole from the outside. Guys like that who’ve been in the league and in different situations, they prepare mentally for those times. It’s a credit to his ability to keep himself ready and not mope about not playing in a game. Those guys – when they have that kind of attitude – tend to be ready to play when their number is called." - Monty Williams What were some of the biggest contributions Roger Mason made to the team on and off the court?

"I think the main attribute Mason brought to the team was a sense of professionalism. Whether he played 15 minutes per game for five consecutive games, or didn’t play at all for three consecutive games, Mason never let it affect his preparation and work ethic. Therefore, he always was ready when called upon. I believe that approach was an example his teammates could emulate on and off the court. Being a pro means being ready, even if you’re not receiving the minutes you might believe you deserve. Also, as a veteran, I think he helped young teammates transition to NBA life off the court through private conversations." - Radio analyst John DeShazier