Posted by Neil Paine on August 21, 2009
"Desmond is not ready to be relegated to a cheerleader and relegated to a mentor for the younger players," [Mason's agent] said. "Desmond's got a lot left in the tank."
Does he? Really?
Using our handy Full Court Player Season Finder tool, let's quickly review the masterpiece that was Mason's season in 2008-09... Among players with 1000 or more minutes, nobody had fewer Win Shares than Mason. Only 24 players scored fewer points per minute than Mason. Only 4 players had a lower True Shooting %. Only 56 players (out of 259) had a lower assist rate. Only 57 of 259 had a worse Defensive Rating. Only 24 players with as little usage as himself had a higher turnover rate. Oh, and he also had easily the league's worst statistical plus/minus (-6.07) among players who saw at least 1000 MP.
In other words, if there's a statistical category out there (at least in terms of the box score), odds are that it showed Desmond Mason to be a really bad player last season. Not just mediocre, not just below-average, but legitimately terrible. Now, you might be making excuses for Desmond, saying that he was hurt a lot last year, and had to be shut down in January because of a knee injury, so maybe it's not a fair 39-game sample upon which to judge Mason.
OK, I'll grant that. So how about the 243 games he's played since 2005-06 (which theoretically should have included some prime seasons)? Would that be a large enough sample? How was he over that span?
All of which begs the question, on what planet does Desmond Mason deserve a multi-year contract "in the neighborhood of" $5+ million per? To be honest, he's lucky anybody is still interested in him at all after his last four seasons. Because four years of purely awful basketball is not an aberration. It's a trend. And it's only getting worse.