Here’s What Frank Mason III Can Bring to the Orlando Magic

by Josh Cohen

ORLANDO - With the addition of Frank Mason III, the Orlando Magic now have the top two scorers from the G League last season. Dwayne Bacon, albeit in only nine appearances, averaged 31.8 points with the Greensboro Swarm in 2019-20, while Mason, playing in 23 games for the Wisconsin Herd during his two-way stint with the Milwaukee Bucks, averaged 26.4 points.

Although it hasn’t yet translated at the NBA level, Mason is best known for his long-distance shooting. In his final year at the University of Kansas, when he was named the Consensus National College Player of the Year in 2017, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound guard shot 47.1 percent from beyond the arc. Last season en route to claiming the G League MVP honor, he shot 42.5 percent from downtown.

So far in the NBA, he’s shooting a shade under 30 percent from deep with 171 attempts.

Less commonly will he accelerate all the way to the basket, as his lack of zip off the dribble makes it challenging for him to burst past defenders. Being only 5'11 makes it tough for him to shoot over long defenders as well. However, he’s very comfortable pulling up out of the pick-and-roll, inside and outside the 3-point line. The average distance on his shot attempts in his three NBA seasons, two of which were with the Sacramento Kings and the other with the Bucks, is 13.9 feet, per Second Spectrum tracking data.

Being fearless enables him to take some contact when he does drive inside. In his senior year with the Jayhawks, he averaged 6.6 free throw attempts. In the G League last year, he averaged 4.0 foul shots.

Magic Head Coach Steve Clifford will like Mason’s game management skills. He keeps turnovers down and he generally makes the right reads when he gets in the paint. Especially having played in Milwaukee last year, the 26-year-old understands the importance of attacking the paint and collapsing the defense, which creates good 3-point looks on kickouts. The Bucks made the fifth most threes through kickout passes in 2019-20, per Second Spectrum.

Making an impact without the ball in his hands is something he can do. He has shown throughout his career to be a good cutter and finisher when he eludes defenders away from the ball.

With Milwaukee resting a few of its core players at Disney during the seeding games prior to the 2020 playoffs, Mason got some opportunity to showcase his abilities. He scored in double figures in his final three seeding games, including pouring in 19 points against the Wizards and 18 against the Grizzlies.

The Petersburg, Virginia native has played in 99 NBA regular season games, 90 of which were with the Kings. One of his best performances with Sacramento came on Oct. 19, 2018 when he scored 18 points and dished out six assists against the Pelicans.

Mason erupted for 30-plus points three times during his senior year in college. One of his best games that year came against Big 12 rival Oklahoma State when he posted 27 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in a Jayhawks victory.

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