Free agent profile: Roger Mason Jr.
This is the 10th post in a series of profiles analyzing a free agent and how he might fit with the Lakers.
Roger Mason Jr., New York Knicks guard
Type of free agent: unrestricted
Positives: Even though Mason has become an NBA journeyman, bouncing around five teams in seven seasons, he carved a particular niche for the ability to hit a number of game-winning shots. That doesn't mean he's suddenly going to replace the services of Kobe Bryant, but part of the reason why Bryant's clutchness was unfairly questioned last season points to the fact that the offense as a whole broke down in the final minutes. The Lakers felt uncomfortable setting anyone else up for last-second shots, even Derek Fisher, who has been known to hit clutch shots in his career.
He might have played in only 26 regular-season games and three of four playoff games, averaging less than 13 minutes of action, in his lone year last season with the New York Knicks, but as former New York Times Knicks beat writer Jonathan Abrams noted on his Twitter account, "There isn't a good reason Roger Mason Jr. hasn't received more looks this year. He can knock down shots." Mason carved that reputation in particular with the San Antonio Spurs by averaging 11.8 points and hitting a large number of game-winning shots. Simply having another option to hit critical baskets beyond the usual suspects will make it harder for opponents to stop the Lakers on last-minute possessions, an area the Mavericks were able to limit Bryant during the 2011 playoffs.
Negatives: Mason has been with seven different teams in his five-year career. As much as he hasn't had any reported issues that made teams lack much interest in him, the Lakers' signing him would only provide a marginal bump in the Lakers' backcourt needs.
Verdict: Mason's less-than-stellar gigs with Washington and San Antonio mostly reflected the fact that he had limited opportunities because of the depth around him, but took advantage of any playing time, such as when the Wizards' Gilbert Arenas and Antonio Daniels were injured. Signing him to a short-term and inexpensive deal wouldn't be a bad idea for the Lakers if it were an insurance policy. But there are other players that should be of higher priority for the Lakers to sign.
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