Frank Mason: Veteran Rookie

Frank Mason entered the draft as one of the oldest eligible rookies after a stellar college career at Kansas. While he has struggled in some areas that scouts could have expected, Mason has played with the savvy of a player with many more years of NBA experience.

In the era of one-and-done superstars, Frank Mason III stands out from the pack. Mason started his career at Kansas as a bench player, starting just three games and averaging 16.2 minutes per game in his freshman season. Mason proceeded to start every remaining game of his college career, and he finished his time at Kansas in style by winning every major Player of the Year award as a senior.

Due to his diminutive 5'11" stature and his age, Mason fell out of the first round of the 2017 pick. The Sacramento Kings ultimately snagged him with the 34th overall pick, hoping that his clear NBA skills would override his notable weaknesses. While Mason has fallen short in some predictable ways in his first NBA season, he has also shown a veteran-level understanding of the game that goes well beyond that of the average rookie. Even though Mason might never be able to fully compensate for some of his weaknesses, his pick-and-roll ability and shooting touch should keep him in the NBA for quite a while.

Size vs. Savvy

If he were four inches taller, Frank Mason might have been a lottery pick after his sophomore season. It is difficult to argue with his success; however, Mason is the rare NBA player who made it to the league in spite of his size rather than because of it.

Frank Mason has struggled to score during his brief time in the NBA--he is shooting just 38.4% from the floor this season. His True Shooting Percentage is a miserable 47.9% despite his stellar 40.4% mark from beyond the arc. Mason's accuracy issues are due in large part to his size--he shoots just 43% at the rim per Cleaning the Glass, which is in the 10th percentile among point guards. Teams have no reason to fear Mason on drives to the basket due to his inability to finish over shot blockers, which closes off many opportunities for drive-and-kick plays.

The good news for Mason is that he can still run an offense like a multi-year veteran. Mason has the best Assist/Turnover Ratio of anyone on the Kings; he reads opposing defenses better than De'Aaron Fox and goes for fewer risky passes than Bogdan Bogdanovic. He can reliably and consistently find his open teammates and make the right decision with his dimes:

Frank Mason ranks in the 53rd percentile as a scorer in pick-and-roll situations per Synergy Sports. However, he ranks in the 77th percentile in pick-and-roll offense when including both scoring and passing out of the pick-and-roll. With the NBA trending towards offenses based on spread pick-and-rolls and 3-point shooting, Frank Mason's best skills will become more and more valuable.

Frank Mason III will never be the NBA MVP as he was for one glorious college season. However, his offensive savvy will allow him to succeed in the NBA despite his size. The Sacramento Kings already have their point guard of the future in De'Aaron Fox. They might have snagged their backup point guard of the future later on in the same draft.

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