Who Fills Mason's Shoes?

One of the interesting things to follow this season will be how the WIzards go about replacing the steady if often unspectacular production of Roger Mason Jr., who signed a fat free agent deal with the Spurs in July.

Roger made open shots, played both guard spots when asked to do it, played solid defense and was a great lockeroom influence. Now that Roger is gone and Gilbert Arenas is once again out, the guard options will consist of Antonio Daniels, DeShawn Stevenson, Nick Young, Dee Brown and Juan Dixon.

Now, nobody expects Dixon to be Mason - they are two different players with totally different body types - but it is true that the Wiz have to find a way to get production off that bench. Just for the fun of it, I asked Eddie Jordan to compare/contract Roger and Juan on Tuesday.

"How is Juan different from Roger Mason?"

Jordan: "High risk. High risk. And a lot of rewards. Roger was a lot more steady and low risk and stayed in a small package but a very effective package. Juan is sort of all over the place but that is ok.

"How about defensively?"

Jordan: "They are different. Juan picks up and is like a misquito that you can't slap away and Roger is pretty much always there. He made his presence know but not a nagging sort of presense. Juan has that nagging sort of presence."


Then again, another major difference is that Roger pulled $7.3 million from the Spurs while the Wizards got Juan on the cheap late in free agency. Gotta stay under that luxury tax you know?

The good news is that Dixon is shooting the ball, he's active defensively and he just seems to "fit" what this team is doing.

Elsewhere on the guard front, Young really busted out with some explosive stuff today. During one short stretch, I saw him curl off a screen and drain a three-ball over Juan, cap a fastbreak with a pretty reverse layup and then throw down a thunderous one-handed dunk over Andray Blatche.


By Ivan Carter |  October 1, 2008; 1:20 AM ET
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Comments

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First?

Posted by: ME | October 1, 2008 6:59 AM

not 100% on topic...but man it seems the Wiz have a ton of very talented bigs and a relatively thin situation at the two...make sense to package a big (e.g. - Etan with is expiring contract) and a lesser talented guard (e.g. - DSteve) for a quality starting two who can give you big production from that spot...

Posted by: scrappy | October 1, 2008 7:17 AM

Burning the midnight oil Ivan???

No one replaces Mason on their own. But the Combo of Young, Dixon, and Dee Brown give Jordan more flexibility.

How long has it been since the Wizards have had a guard that could matchup with those mighty mights that have always torched them?

And if Blatche and McGuire step up big, Eddie has the flexibility to shift Tough Juice to the two to help Stephenson guard some of the Two's in the east that are really more like three's anyway.

If Brown can come through to play backup minutes at point, I really like the potential makeup of this back court.

This could be the deepest Wizards team we've seen in years.

Posted by: GM | October 1, 2008 7:32 AM

scrappy--like the way you're thinking, but what kind of 2 are we gonna get for an undersized center who missed last year because of heart surgery? And whoever we get better play D because without DSteve we have no one (other than Haywood and Caron) who even pretends to play defense.

Posted by: RG | October 1, 2008 7:40 AM

Did I read your article right? Brendan said that JaVale is one of the top 2 or 3 most athletic centers in the league? Huh?

What we saw during summer league was a guy who was L-O-N-G, but did not seem particularly athletic in terms of his speed or lateral motion.

I hope Brendan is right. He sure drank the Kool-Aid on that kid.

Posted by: Choowee | October 1, 2008 8:36 AM

"but it is true that the Wiz have to find a way to get production off that bench."

Easy.

Have AB start with AJ off the bench.

BTW, it's great to hear all the good stuff coming out of camp, but they're just playing against each other.

Let's see them do it against real competition in real games!

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 1, 2008 8:46 AM

brilliant!

Posted by: prescrunk | October 1, 2008 9:06 AM

Ivan...can we get an update on Dermarr Johnsons chances of making this team. I saw him play in high school at AU and he was the best high school/college player I had ever seen live. He was hitting threes from just inside half court, dunking on people, etc. Does his game just not translate or has his injury had that big of an effect?

Posted by: wizfanincville | October 1, 2008 9:54 AM

"Ivan...can we get an update on Dermarr Johnsons chances of making this team. I saw him play in high school at AU and he was the best high school/college player I had ever seen live. He was hitting threes from just inside half court, dunking on people, etc. Does his game just not translate or has his injury had that big of an effect?

Posted by: wizfanincville | October 1, 2008 9:54 AM "

Dude broke his neck in a car crash, and even before that, he wasn't all that in the NBA.

Based on what we're hearing, it seems that Juan's a lock on making this team, especially with Gilby out.

That means DerMarr, Linton, etc. are just practice bodies unless someone else gets injured.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 1, 2008 10:23 AM

"but it is true that the Wiz have to find a way to get production off that bench."

Easy.

Have AB start with AJ off the bench
-----------
That's a very good idea, DC Man88, and I know AJ would probably be the last player on the team to cop an attitude about being disrespected, but don't you think AB should have to earn a starting spot? However great AB's looked before the games count isn't enough. Maybe an in-season change if AB comes out with a purpose?

Posted by: dabnjab | October 1, 2008 10:24 AM

"That's a very good idea, DC Man88, and I know AJ would probably be the last player on the team to cop an attitude about being disrespected, but don't you think AB should have to earn a starting spot? However great AB's looked before the games count isn't enough. Maybe an in-season change if AB comes out with a purpose?

Posted by: dabnjab | October 1, 2008 10:24 AM "

AB's generation works a different way.

You give them the responsibility and they run with it.

Sink or swim.

With AB coming off the bench now, there's less pressure on AB.

Put the onus on AB.

AB is the future of this org, not AJ.

AB is a vet now, not a rookie.

AJ came off the bench at Dallas.

Having him off the bench will prolong his career and possible give him another pay day after 5 years.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 1, 2008 10:35 AM

Jamison's not coming off the bench, no matter what Blatche does, esp. with Arenas out. Taking Jamison out of the starting lineup with Arenas hurt is an invitation for teams to load up defensively on Butler and make the other Wizards prove they can carry the scoring load, which they won't have a prayer of doing if Jamison's 20 points is watching from the sidelines.

Posted by: kalorama | October 1, 2008 10:37 AM

AJ came off the bench at Dallas.

Having him off the bench will prolong his career and possible give him another pay day after 5 years.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 1, 2008 10:35 AM

And he absolutely hated it in Dallas.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2008 10:41 AM

"And he absolutely hated it in Dallas.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2008 10:41 AM "

Yeah, and he wasn't getting 50 mil to come off the bench at Dallas.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 1, 2008 10:49 AM

from a June 2004 ESPN article
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=1827125

"Dallas acquired Jamison last summer expecting to pair him at forward with Nowitzki, then bumped him to the bench when (Antoine) Walker arrived during training camp. He accepted the demotion and savored the team's success as he made the playoffs for the first time.

"He was rewarded by earning the league's Sixth Man award, but made it clear he wanted to be a starter next season. Trading Walker, which the Mavs are certainly trying to do, would have cleared a spot for him, but Dallas apparently felt this deal moves them closer to their ultimate goal of O'Neal."

Jamison's production as a 6th man were not as high as his GSW numbers or his Wizards numbers.
Jamison's stats for 2003-04:

Finished third on the Mavericks in scoring (14.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg) while shooting a team-high 53.5% in 29.0 minutes per game. Also led the team in offensive rebounding (2.8 orpg).


Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2008 10:54 AM

Yeah, and he wasn't getting 50 mil to come off the bench at Dallas.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 1, 2008 10:49 AM

You're right, he was getting more $15M a year.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2008 10:55 AM

Correction, not quite $15M, Jamison started getting over $15M as part of his contract while at Washington. His contract was originally signed with the Warriors. He WOULD have earned yearly increases had he stayed with the Mavs.
2003-2004 Dallas Mavericks Salaries (1/1/04)

Dallas Mavericks Total: $78,286,720
Michael Finley ............. $13,281,250
Antoine Walker ............. $12,500,000
Antawn Jamison ............. $11,326,219
Dirk Nowitzki .............. $11,326,219
Tariq Abdul-Wahad .......... $6,187,500
Steve Nash ................. $5,750,000
Danny Fortson .............. $5,428,602
Shawn Bradley .............. $3,500,000
Eduardo Najera ............. $3,428,572
Tony Delk .................. $2,925,000
Travis Best ................ $938,679 [minimum, counts $688,679]
Josh Howard ................ $773,400
Muggsy Bogues ............. $437,420 [released 10/29/01]
Marquis Daniels ............ $366,931 [minimum]
Jon Stefansson ............. $366,931 [minimum]

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2008 11:01 AM

Ivan, is Etan a legit 6"10? Or is that just his listed height? At times it seems like his height flucutates between 6"8 and 6"10. Depending on who he's gaurding.

Posted by: C.Bell | October 1, 2008 11:08 AM

Damn, looking at the 03-04 Mavs squad makes you wonder how the hell Jamison wasn't starting? Talk about some overpaid bums! Tariq Abdul-Wahad was making 6 mil? What was Cuban smoking when he signed off on that one?

Posted by: C.Bell | October 1, 2008 11:14 AM

"And he absolutely hated it in Dallas.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2008 10:41 AM "

Yeah, and he wasn't getting 50 mil to come off the bench at Dallas.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 1, 2008 10:49 AM
------------

Actually, Jamison had a max contract with Dallas ($15M+/year), as opposed to less than $12.5M/year with us.

Also, Jamison was in his prime with Dallas, being in his mid-20s (left Dallas after turning 28), so the situation is much different now. Jamison did make it known that he wanted to be a starter there, and since he hasn't done anything to hurt that case here, and since he's the captain, it should be his call, unless his game declines. Blatche will have to make use of his minutes, the better he plays, the more Jamison can sit, so it'll work out great for everyone if Blatche comes through...

Posted by: CN | October 1, 2008 11:17 AM

Jamison wasn't starting for the Mavs b/c Antoine Walker couldn't be wheeled off the court by the tip...

Posted by: CN | October 1, 2008 11:19 AM

I'd tend to agree with Kalorama, Jamison isn't going to the bench until Arenas is healthy.

Once they have Arenas back in the lineup it might make sense to start to look at Jamison in the classic 6th man role as the first big off the bench.

But 88' that was an actually well conceived and sound idea. The difference between Jamison now and in Dallas, sure he's older and wiser, but this is his team. He's the leader, the one the guys listen to, taking the 6th man role doesn't change that.

In Dallas he was just a role player, which a guy like Jamison wasn't ready to be at that point in his career.

A classic 6th man like Red used to use is often the second or third best player on the team. Because of ego no one wants to fill the role anymore, but it can be deadly to have player with that kind of impact coming off the bench.

It's something that could happen by the second half of this year if Blatche makes a major move and the Wizards get and stay healthy.

Posted by: GM | October 1, 2008 11:54 AM

Unless Blatche does something so dramatic that it forces the move, Jamison won't be going to the bench after Arenas returns either. There's really no demonstrated, concrete reason to think moving Jamison to the bench and starting Blatche actually makes the team better. Blatche is still a work in progress and upending the team's dynamic on a speculative move like that smacks of change for change's sake, which is rarely a good idea.

Posted by: kalorama | October 1, 2008 12:10 PM

Mosquito.

Posted by: ThaiPo'-The-Spellchecking-Ingrate | October 1, 2008 1:36 PM

I love the idea of Juan off the bench with NY, McGuire, Blatche and Etan! That is a nice unit with Etan's strength down low paired with Blatche's athleticism. You have the offense of NY and Juan backed by the interior D of McGuire, Blatche and Etan.

Posted by: Darnell | October 1, 2008 5:00 PM

It will be a collection of people to fill the shoes of this prolific guard that came off the bench and gave us such a spark. I say if coach Jordan subs well someone will shine. looking forward to the season opener.
Go wizs!!

Posted by: PS2401 | October 3, 2008 9:56 AM

Blatche is the future...if jamison is startin over him come playoff time u know its gonna be 1 and done for like the 5 straight year

Posted by: Lex | October 4, 2008 3:13 AM

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