Schröder, Take the Wheel and $70 Million Too

The confusing point guard situation for the Atlanta Hawks during the 2015-16 season led to a definite, cemented answer in 2016-17 and beyond: Dennis Schröder. Schröder has inked a $70 million extension.

The product of Braunschweig, Germany, Schröder is coming into his own, three years after being drafted, and the Hawks hope he will blossom as a starting point guard, feeding Dwight Howard at every opportunity. This promotion for Schröder is not by default. It is well deserved.

He was arguably one of the best off-the-bench guards last season.  The 6’1” guard from Germany is ready to revamp the Atlanta offense.

There is one word to describe Schröder: efficient. Racking up 19.5 PTS, 7.8 ASTS, and 1.6 STLS per 36 minutes and on par efficiency wise with previous starter, Jeff Teague, Schröder has proven himself to be a starter in the league. Darting through the paint and splicing together a coherent offense, Schröder is a versatile point guard who might eclipse Teague’s 6-year stint with the Hawks within the next few seasons.

Dennis Schröder has a natural talent and knack for passing. Again, his efficiency, in correlation to Hollinger’s Player Efficiency Rating, shines through his assists. Ranked at number 9 for assists per 48 minutes in the regular season during the 2015-16 year, raking in 10.3 assists  per 48 minutes, Schröder was in good company, positively compared to Ricky Rubio, John Wall, and Ish Smith. These players were only ahead of Schröder by a couple of spots. Not bad for a point guard coming off the bench, competing with leading assist leaders in the league.

Schröder’s game revolves around his ability to be effective in pick and roll actions. With Dwight Howard, this will be a scary one-two punch in the Eastern Conference.

Schröder’s passing is phenomenal, but there is one caveat that will be a thorn in the Hawks offense: shooting. Although he is an efficiency behemoth, his shooting is not as impressive as his other numbers. A True Shooting percentage of 51%  is not horrific by any means, but it is below average for an offensive-geared guard. His perimeter shooting is low compared to others, but for someone his size Schröder is a magician in the paint. His field goals were a stellar mark of 49% inside the charity stripe last season.

Finishing elegantly around the rim and utilizing a barrage of screens to create plays, Schröder’s speed spurs everything into motion. His deadly first step causes defensive headaches for opponents.  His projection and trajectory is higher than Teague’s and Schröder is producing at a higher level early in his career. And this is Schröder coming off the bench at the age of twenty-two. His glass ceiling potential is a great investment and is excellent foresight by the Atlanta Hawks organization, the front office recognizing a starting talent.

Dennis Schröder possesses a great cast of players – Paul Millsap, Dwight Howard, and Kent Bazemore – and these teammates will ensure the Hawks have another playoff run this year. Under the tutelage of Mike Budenholzer and the veteran presence of Millsap, Schroder is bound to lead the team to its third consecutive second-round appearance in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. All the pieces are coming together to make the Atlanta Hawks a top 5 seed in the East for the foreseeable future.

However, this time Schröder will be at the helm, leading the Atlanta Hawks to championship contention. The future looks bright for the young point guard and for the Atlanta Hawks team.

Except.

The money, while nice for Schröder’s bank account, will cause fans to expect him to play under control and with maturity, to be an All-Star in the wings, to lead the Hawks with his playmaking, to lead the Hawks with his passion, to make the right play at the right moment.  The contract is a confidence booster. The Hawks are telling Schroder you are our guy. You are going to be one of the key members of this team.

All Schröder has to do is to back it up. Be who the Hawks expect him to be. Make the $70 million investment worthwhile.

 

photo via llananba