More Young means less Mason, Mack

More Young means less Mason, Mack
December 19, 2011, 7:03 pm
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By Benjamin Standig
CSNwashington.comNow that Nick Young is back in the fold, the Wizards have a credible and potentially potent three-guard attack. Young provides - and often in bunches - perimeter scoring, John Wall explosively runs the point and Jordan Crawford moves back to the bench where is combo-guard skills and instant offense will be an asset.Young's return also pushes veteran Roger Mason and rookie Shelvin Mack down in the rotation. That's not necessarily a bad thing.Last season the 6-7 Young (31.8 minutes per game) and Wall (37.8) chewed up the bulk of the backcourt minutes. Crawford averaged 33 minutes in 26 games with the Wizards, the bulk of those with Young sidelined. Assuming Young is ready to take on his normal role from the start, Crawfordfigures to play 20-30minutes per game depending on the game flow. That doesn't leave muchtime for others to see the court, but coach Flip Saunders will need to find ways to rest the main three during those stretches of game after game, after game. Starting with the December 26 season opener against the Nets, the Wizards will not have more than one day off between games until mid-February.In the case of Mason, who re-signed with the Wizards this off-season after spending the last three campaigns with the Spurs andthe Knicks, the 31-year-old is tasked with providing leadership to an otherwise youthful backcourt while knocking down outside jumpers and occasionally running the offense. The University of Virginia grad claims he is a player now than he was with in his previous stint or when he shined for the Spurs during the2008-09 season. His recent production suggests otherwise; Mason averaged 2.9 points and shot 33.8 percent in 26 games for the Knicks last season.Even if his claims of improvement are legit, not overworking the 6-5 Mason's legson a nightly basis seems prudent with such a compact schedule this season.Mack's run up to his rookie season has meant just a little over a week's worth of direct work with the Wizards coaching staff. The former Butler star has plenty of significant game experience to fall back on after playing in consecutive national championship games with the Bulldogs. However, catching up to the speed of the NBA game takes time and the bulk of Mack's crash course early on likely comes from the sideline, sitting within earshot of assistant coach Sam Cassell.