Sacramento Kings: Frank Mason’s rookie season test

Photo by Brian Babineau/Getty Images
Photo by Brian Babineau/Getty Images /

Although the Sacramento Kings have their point guard for the future in De’Aaron Fox, rookie Frank Mason III is looking to prove his worth within the team’s long-term plans.

This year’s draft provided the Sacramento Kings a big stepping stone in their burgeoning rebuild in every way possible.

As we all know, the headlining choice the Kings made that night was the selection of point guard De’Aaron Fox with the fifth overall pick.

It wasn’t exactly a shock by any means, as the Kings had long been rumored to be big fans of Fox’s game and potential in the lead-up to the draft. Now by officially adding him to the fold, the Kings have a prominent building block in the Kentucky product, one who they hope can be the face of the franchise in the years to come.

Of course, Fox was just one of four picks the Kings made that night, which practically doubled their core group of promising players in size.

On top of that, Fox wasn’t the only selection the Kings made to address their point guard depth, as they also took last year’s Naismith award winner Frank Mason III out of the University of Kansas with the 34th overall pick.

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Mason comes to the Kings on a radically different trajectory compared to a one-and-done player like Fox. Spending four years on the collegiate level, Mason is as accomplished and game-tested of a prospect as they come from this year’s class.

But for any player making the jump to the NBA who carries the same wealth of experience as Mason did during his time in Lawrence, it also led to him falling to where he was ultimately selected by the Kings in the draft, due to the thought that he’s closer to realizing his ceiling.

Regardless of the factors that played a part in where he was taken on draft night, Mason is certainly capable of making an immediate impact in his own way, both in his play and how he’s held himself as a leader with the Jayhawks.

However, the big question will be whether the 23-year-old Mason will be given a fair shake to prove himself right away on the NBA level. Not only does Fox stand in Mason’s way to earn minutes this upcoming season, but so does veteran point guard George Hill, who the Kings brought in on a three-year, $57 million deal this summer.

Given the circumstances, Mason theoretically slots in as the third point guard on the team’s depth chart. With that, playing time may not come to Mason as much as he hopes it should during his rookie year.

That doesn’t mean opportunities won’t be afforded to Mason in some degree, whether it’s with the Kings or potentially in a much more featured role with the Reno Bighorns, the team’s G League affiliate.

No matter the case, the Kings will have the tough task of managing the respective developments of the many young players they have added over the last two summers and will have to make sure no one gets lost in the shuffle — Mason included.

And by the nature of how he came to the Kings, Mason will be invariably measured to Fox in some capacity for as long as he’s a member of the Kings.

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Whether Mason can eventually grow out of that shadow as he grows and develops as an NBA player obviously remains to be seen, but this upcoming year will hopefully give him a good first impression to do so.