Mason supplied 14 points (4-12 FG, 3-5 3Pt, 3-4 FT), eight assists and four rebounds across 30 minutes in the Kings' 118-115 preseason loss to the Trail Blazers on Friday.
Mason was back in the starting five after a one-game sabbatical on the second unit Thursday. The second-year guard is reportedly on track to open the season as the starting two-guard while Bogdan Bogdanovic completes his recovery from a knee injury. Mason has earned the job with a strong preseason, one in which he's posted double-digit scoring efforts in five of six games and dished out between five and eight assists in four of them.
Coach Dave Joerger implied Monday night that Mason would begin the season as the starting two-guard, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area reports.
While Bogdan Bogdanovic (knee) is the favorite to take over when healthy, Joerger intimated after Monday's preseason contest that he'll go with a backcourt pairing of Mason and De'Aaron Fox to begin the season. "Frank does what does, he's hard nosed and he's a guy that a coach always knows he can go to and you're going to get 110 percent from him," Joerger said. Obviously, Mason is a bit undersized for a traditional NBA two-guard, but he's a strong three-point shooter -- a necessary skill next to Fox, who struggled in that area as a rookie. Nothing is ever truly set in stone when it comes to the Kings, but as of now, Joerger appaers poised to roll out Fox, Mason, Justin Jackson, Nemanja Bjelica and Willie Cauley-Stein on opening night.
Mason registered 13 points (5-11 FG, 1-2 3Pt, 2-2 FT), eight assists and five steals across 28 minutes during the Kings' 132-100 preseason win over Maccabi Haifa on Monday.
The 2017 second-round pick put together a better-than-expected rookie campaign while carving out a solid second-unit role, averaging 7.9 points, 2.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds across 18.9 minutes over 52 games. Yogi Ferrell's offseason arrival does present an obstacle in terms of playing time opportunities, but performances like Monday's serve as a tangible reminder of Mason's ability to provide a jolt off the bench. The Kings' backcourt rotation is likely to be in flux over the course of the season, and Mason's quest to carve out a meaningful role once again would benefit from the former Jayhawk significantly improving last season's 37.9 shooting percentage.
Mason is dealing with a sprained right ankle and has been ruled out for Wednesday's summer league matchup against the Cavaliers, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area reports.
Mason is coming off an impressive 10-point, 13-rebound double-double Tuesday, though it appears he may have tweaked his ankle during that contest as well. With Mason already being an established NBA player, he has no reason to risk injuring the ankle further in an exhibition outing and will get the night off Wednesday. It wouldn't be surprising if he was ultimately shut down for the rest of summer league, though the Kings are tentatively considering him day-to-day moving forward.
Mason finished with 10 points (3-6 FG, 1-1 3Pt, 3-4 FT), 13 assists, one rebound and one block across 26 minutes during Tuesday's 94-80 summer league win over the Grizzlies.
Mason hasn't scored at volume during summer league thus far, but he's been supplying his teammates with good looks. Across six summer league games, he's totaled 64 points, 43 assists, 16 rebounds, seven steals and a block. As the depth chart stands, he should slot in as De'Aaron Fox's backup once again come the beginning of the season.
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