Mason named MVP
Former University of Kansas guard Frank Mason III, now playing for the Wisconsin Herd, is the 2019-20 NBA G League Most Valuable Player.
Mason, 26 earned the honor in a vote by the league's 28 head coaches and general managers.
Mason was selected in the second round of the 2017 NBA draft after earning consensus college player of the year honors in his senior season at KU.
He averaged a G League-high 26.4 points plus 5 assists and 3.4 rebounds in 23 games with the Herd. Wisconsin went 18-5 with Mason in the lineup and had the league's best record (33-10).
Wisconsin Herd guard Jaylen Adams and Maine Red Claws guard Tremont Waters finished second and third, respectively, in the voting.
Mason hit 50.4 percent of his shots last season, including 42.5 percent of his threes. He made 81 percent of his free throws. He and Stephan Hicks of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants were the only players in the G League to record a 50/40/80 shooting season.
Mason scored 30 or more points in seven games. The 5-11 native of Petersburg, Va., scored a season-high 44 against the Grand Rapids Drive on Feb. 19. He had 36 points on 14-of-17 shooting against the Drive on Feb. 23. He hit 16 of 18 shots and scored 35 points against Delaware in the penultimate game of the season, which was shortened because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Asked by the Oshkosh Northwestern reasons for Mason's stellar season, former KU guard and Herd coach Chase Buford said: "Probably just igniting that fire in him where he knows that's where he wants to be (NBA). He came back down after a little injury and time with them (Bucks). That month of February was just a killer. He was the best player in the G League by far.
"I think his aggressive mindset, when he just was willing to embrace the fact that, 'Yeah, I might get knocked down a few times, but if I drive to the basket no one's going to stop me. No one's going to stay in front of me. Finish and draw fouls.' I think when he lost that regard for anything and just started attacking, he became an entire different animal."
Mason spent two seasons with the Sacramento Kings, who chose him with the fourth pick of Round 2 in the 2017 draft.
He has averaged 6.5 points and 2.5 assists in 96 games with the Kings and Bucks. He had appeared in six games for Milwaukee this season.
The NBA G League canceled the remainder of its 2019-20 season on June 4. The regular season was suspended on March 12 and had been scheduled to conclude on March 28.
"Wisconsin's offense ran through its talented scorer, which meant Mason's prowess attracted immense defensive pressure and it was up to him to identify opportunities to put the ball in the basket, and/or when to defer to the other offensive talent around him," NBA.com's Keith Schlosser wrote Thursday. "With additional averages of 5.0 assists and 1.1 steals, Mason was an unselfish player who found ways to hold his own on both ends of the floor.
"Where does Mason go from here? What else will he accomplish? That remains to be seen, but the way he splashed onto the NBA G League scene this season is arguably the best evidence that he's ready and able to continue making big time contributions, perhaps with the Bucks, sooner than later."