Sunday , Jan , 25 , 2009 Oly Sandor

Another Robert Horry? Is Roger Mason San Antonio’s next great role player?

In the last month, Mason nailed match-winning shots to help the Spurs prevail over Western Conference rivals like the Suns and Lakers. The first, a corner three-pointer against Phoenix, came on Christmas Day. The second, a baseline jumper and free throw, sealed a key victory against Los Angeles.

After struggling in Chicago, grinding in Europe, and auditioning last year in Washington, Mason has arrived. And the Spurs, it seems, have found another clutch performer.

Another Robert Horry? Is Roger Mason San Antonio's next great role player?Sometimes, for a moment, a role player can feel like a superstar.

Consider San Antonio’s Roger Mason. His recent end-of-game heroics are typical for closers like Gilbert Arenas, Kobe Bryant, or Paul Pierce, but not a journeyman who struggled to stick in the NBA.

In the last month, Mason nailed match-winning shots to help the Spurs prevail over Western Conference rivals like the Suns and Lakers. The first, a corner three-pointer against Phoenix, came on Christmas Day. The second, a baseline jumper and free throw, sealed a key victory against Los Angeles.

(Spoiling Christmas for the Suns.)


(Coming through against the Lakers.)

After struggling in Chicago, grinding in Europe, and auditioning last year in Washington, Mason has arrived. And the Spurs, it seems, have found another clutch performer.

His confidence to make big shots likely stems from refusing to hear the word no. As in, no, you aren’t an NBA player. After playing 40 games his first two seasons with Chicago and Toronto, Mason was out of the league and touring Europe and Asia.

He persevered and earned a roster spot with his hometown Washington Wizards in 2006-07. Minutes were initially scarce; Mason was again on the bubble. But an injury to Arenas provided an opportunity and the two-guard delivered last season, averaging 9 points per game.

Last summer, San Antonio, in need of outside scoring, inked Mason to a two year, seven million dollar contract. So far, he is averaging 12 points per game. Expect his fine play to continue.

‘The Big Three’ create opportunities. Tim Duncan still warrants a double team. Manu Ginobili, especially when coming off the bench, changes games. And Tony Parker creates space by penetrating. All of which provides a gunner like Mason open looks.

Coach Gregg Popovich puts role players in positions to succeed. Matt Bonner, Bruce Bowen, Mario Elie, Avery Johnson, Robert Horry and countless others have thrived in The Alamo because Popovich keeps things simple. The Hall of Fame sideline boss will ask Mason to continue knocking down shots and provide complementary scoring. Nothing more.

Mason and Spur super-sub Elie have much in common. Both struggled to make the NBA, but still had the swagger to make big plays. Of course, San Antonio fans are hoping Mason and Elie eventually have an NBA Title in common, too.

What are your thoughts on Mason? Is he the next Elie or Horry? Will his success continue? Get at us with thoughts on the comment box below and come back to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of robino2001.