I sat down with Roger Mason for 10 minutes and 08 seconds, and he was kind enough to answer some questions.
Mike Kurylo: So what have you been doing this offseason?
Roger Mason: I’ve been working. I’ve been working. I had a tough season last year, and I’ve been doing everything in my power to make sure this season is more of a success.
Mike Kurylo: About last year: you got injured, and your shooting percentage which seems to be your bread & butter took a dip. What do you attribute that to?
Roger Mason: (Points to the scar on his right hand. Then pauses for a couple of seconds.) No, I mean it was a different situation for me. My minutes were down. Healthy Manu was back. It was just a different scenario. For a guy that does what I do, it’s tough to get it done in a different situation.
Mike Kurylo: There was a web site that took videos of your shooting threes and they noticed that your footwork was off. In the older video, you pretty much jumped and landed in the same spot, but last year you weren’t. Were you overcompensating for your hand?
Roger Mason: I think I did a lot of things to overcompensate for my hand. You know, it happens and you have to adjust. There are no excuses. There’s other people playing with injuries. Mine happened to be on my shooting hand, which affected me a little bit. But at the end of the day, I know I’m one of the best shooters in the NBA. And now it’s time for me to prove it and help this team to win.
Mike Kurylo: And you feel healthy right now?
Roger Mason: Yeah. The surgery was successful and I’m ready to go.
Mike Kurylo: How hard is it to come back? Shooting three pointers at your level requires perfect mechanics. How hard it that to have an injury, adjust your shooting, and then get back to where you were when you were healthy?
Roger Mason: When you play for a championship, like I have been doing for the Spurs, you do whatever you can to help the team. Whether you are injured or not, I still feel like you have to concentrate and do what you have to do. I’m not making any excuses. I was just trying to fight through it.
Mike Kurylo: You mentioned that you worked with a shooting coach in the past. Do you still work with one?
Roger Mason: Yeah. He’s basically a skill work guy. I’m a big basketball workout guy. Keeping the artilery strong, and keeping that shot ready.
Mike Kurylo: Do a lot of players work with a skill coach?
Roger Mason: I think so. Some do more than others. Some play 5-on-5 and that’s their workout, and some like to do what I do.
Mike Kurylo: Do you go back and look at tape of yourself shooting or do you know at this point what you have to do?
Roger Mason: I’ve been doing this for so long. There are times when you need another perspective, and there are times when you know what’s going on with your shot and can make the adjustments yourself.
Mike Kurylo: We’ve talked a lot about your shooting. What else can you bring to this team?
Roger Mason: My leadership. My defensive mentality. Not last year, but year before last I played a lot of point guard. The pick & roll is a big part of my game as well. Just being a guy that will fit in with this system. I will do that.
Mike Kurylo: How can you provide leadership on the team?
Roger Mason: I think that there is a respect level there. I’ve had success in this league. I’ve been a part of the playoffs the last 4 years. And I’m bringing that with me. I think I’ve had some of the best leaders in our game with Bruce Bowen, Tim Duncan, Manu and Tony. I’m really excited to bring that to a younger group.
Mike Kurylo: Given D’Antoni’s like for the three ball and how some players increase the number of shot attempts, how do you feel that works to your strength? Do you feel like you can be a starter on this team?
Roger Mason: Yeah. I’ve been a starter in this league, and had a lot of success. I can start and do the same thing here like I did in San Antonio. If they need me to come off the bench I can do that also. I’m not just a spot up guy. I’m a guy that plays with the rhythm. I’m a guy that comes off pick & rolls and makes plays. But I’m also a guy that can hit the spot up shots.
Mike Kurylo: With so many new players there are a lot of open starting spots. How do you feel about the competition? Do you feel you have an open shot to become a starter or get into the rotation?
Roger Mason: I don’t get caught up in starting or not starting, because I’ve done it already. I did it for a whole year a few years ago, and had success. The important thing is that we have guys that do a lot of different things well. We’re going to need everybody. I think it’s a unique situation because I do what I do, and there are other guys with other strengths. You put that together and that’s what a good team is about. And that’s how you win games.
Mike Kurylo: There’s a lot of talk that the East is loaded at the top. How do you feel this team can do?
Roger Mason: The NBA is funny, like all sports. You have to be a little lucky. You have to stay healthy. And things have to go your way. There’s no doubt we have the talent, the system, and the coaching to get things done. Now is just about doing it.