Roger Mason Jr. had some trouble finding a regular spot in the rotation last season with the Washington Wizards, his hometown team. When the opportunity came up in the offseason to join the New Orleans Hornets, Mason grabbed it, and hasn’t looked back.
Mason, 32, has cracked the team’s starting lineup and is finding a comfort level providing veteran leadership for a team full of young players. Other than Mason, everyone else on the squad has less than five years experience. Mason is in his ninth season.
“It’s been great,” Mason said of playing for the Hornets. “It’s been an opportunity for me to establish myself on the court and show the wing players and the team overall some leadership from a playing perspective.”
This season, Mason is averaging 5.7 points, 1.3 assists and 2.1 rebounds.
“Also [showing leadership] off the court with Austin Rivers and Anthony Davis. It seems like every player we have here is under 24, so it’s been a great role for me to not only do it in the locker room, but on the court as well.”
As for life in New Orleans, Mason had nothing but praise for the city known as “The Big Easy.”
“The city is great,” Mason said. “The people here are real warm. Obviously with what’s gone on here with the storms and stuff it’s a city that really bonds together and they really love their Hornets, so I couldn’t be happier.”
Does he pay attention to what’s going on with the Wizards, the hometown team where he had two separate stints? Yes, he does.
“You know, I follow every game,” Mason said. “I have a lot of friends in the organization. Them being my home town team so I cheer for them. I want the best for that franchise and Mr. Leonsis. I know its a tough time with John [Wall] being hurt and other guys being hurt, Nene early on.”
“So, I’m hoping they get it together. Just not tonight.”