Everyone loves an underdog story, right? Everyone loves a local story too, right? In a certain way, Roger Mason was both.
I guess the underdog thing is a bit of a stretch. Mason went to Virginia for college ball, playing on the perpeptually underachieving Mason-Adam Hall-Donald Hand-Travis Watson-Pete Gillen teams. He left school after his sophomore year, which was probably a mistake, but still got drafted by the Bulls in the second round. Two years later, he was out of the league, but he made a name for himself overseas and came back hoping to make the Wizards roster out of training camp. He did so, and was actually a decently effective bench player for much of the season.
Mason's still an undersized combo guard, but he displayed pretty good defense and a nice outside touch. He had 10 points in Game 2 of the Cleveland series and thoroughly outplayed DeShawn Stevenson in that game. Certainly, he was more valuable this season than Donnell Taylor.
But the problem remains, how can you keep both of them? Taylor has more athleticism and upside; Mason is the smarter player. Both are free agents, and I can't see how the Wizards can justify keeping both. Mason fits in fairly well, but I don't think he's going to be any better than a 11th-12th man. I feel like the Wizards might as well keep the guy with more upside (Taylor) than Mason.
Disagree? Let me know. I'm not solid on my Taylor over Mason stance, but if neither will play much anyway, why not keep the more talented guy?
In fact, I'll make the defense easier for you. Just cite his pimp ride.