The iconic blonde streak in his hair, the numerous hashtags on his Instagram posts, the German accent that surprises everyone the first time they hear it, and the great natural ability to drive to the basket are the first things people think of when they think of Dennis Schröder.
Schröder rose to fame in Germany through his play for the Phantoms Braunschweig, quickly establishing himself as one of the greatest upcoming foreign talents in basketball. He declared for the 2013 NBA Draft, and was selected 17th overall by the Atlanta Hawks.
However, controversy surrounding Schröder rose in the 2015-2016 season. The young point guard was playing so well, that fans and analysts began questioning if he should be starting over Jeff Teague. Many said that even though Schröder’s stats didn’t match Teague’s, Schröder ran the offense more dynamically. There was no objective right answer to this debate, but Schröder’s solidification of the Atlanta bench in the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 NBA seasons and the exciting nature of his play made for a tough argument.
Schröder was given his chance to lead the Hawks as starting point guard at the beginning of the 2016-2017 season, as Teague was traded to the Pacers in the offseason. Let’s take a look and see how Schröder filled the role of starting point guard and if he improved as fans expected.
|2015-2016||11.0 PPG||4.4 APG||.421 FG%||.322 3P%|
|2016-2017||17.8 PPG||6.2 APG||.460 FG%||.339 3P%|
Right off the bat, his statistical improvement is irrefutable. Now, a jump in his numbers is expected as he played 20.3 minutes per game in the 2015-2016 season and increased to 31.0 minutes per game this season. So, looking further than his higher volume of scoring, we see an improvement in his shooting. This is a great sign, as it shows he is more than just an average scorer. He isn’t just taking more shots, he’s making the more shots he takes at a higher percentage than before.
As for Schröder’s assists, they have also increased as would be expected with more playing time. He of course isn’t sharing the ball like Stockon or Nash, but that comes with the nature that Schröder is not a pass first point guard. His quickness allows him to be a penetrative force in driving to the basket, making him most useful as a scoring guard rather than a traditional point guard. He isn’t just a scorer, as he runs the pick and roll well in Budenholzer’s motion offense, but it looks like his ability naturally translates better to scoring than to passing.
Overall, Schröder has improved, but those who watch most of the Hawks games know he still has room to grow, especially in terms of defense and shot selection. Hopefully, he will continue his upward trend and develop more consistency that his great potential allows for. The future of the Hawks is up to young players like him, and he has already stepped up tremendously. Time will tell if he is more than a starting point guard and perhaps an elite point guard in the Eastern Conference like Kyrie Irving or John Wall.