Dennis Schröder Wants To Get Richer By A Whole Lot

Last summer, Dennis Schröder’s career took an interesting turn when he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Danny Green and the number 28 pick in the NBA Draft. Schröder filled a huge need for the Lakers who lost point guard Rajon Rondo to Atlanta, leaving them with one creator on the roster and he was 36 years old.  27-year old Schröder was an important get.

Previous to Los Angeles, Schröder played with All-Stars like Chris Paul, Al Horford, and Paul Millsap. He appeared in 46 playoff games including one conference final. Every player has baggage and Schröder was no exception. He had a fractious side and could be a little moody. But a contract year always brings out the best in everyone.

In 2019-20 Schröder was a key member of a 3-guard OKC offense with Chris Paul leading the way and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander adding support. Unlike OKC, the Lakers weren’t as richly blessed in the guard spot as they used a mismatched version of Alex Caruso, Avery Bradley, Rajon Rondo. Repeating would be next to impossible with the same roster that managed to win in the bubble. With the return of Steph Curry to the conference, the continuing elitism of Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, and Luka Doncic, the Lakers had to fix their glaring holes at point guard.

Schröder did what he was asked to do while wearing a Lakers uniform but he didn’t meet expectations. On the year, he was the 26th ranked point guard (Real Plus-MInus), slightly better than LaMelo Ball, but better than Ja Morant. His defense was better than his offense, he was a top-10 defensive point guard. While his jumper was hit or miss, it was his lack of aggression for someone with his speed that was frustrating to watch. His chemistry with LeBron and AD wasn’t spectacular, just okay.

Two Years, Two Teams Points 3-Point % Assists Offensive Rating Defensive Rating PER
OKC, 2019-2020 18.9 38.5% 4.0 108 112 16.7
LAL, 2020-21 15.4 33.5% 5.8 107 109 13.8

Entering unrestricted free agency in 2020-21 was supposed to give Schröder the motivation to up his numbers. He turned down a lucrative extension and is now hoping for a contract worth $100-$120 million. If he does get his coveted $25 million a year he will make slightly more than Buddy Hield (Sacramento) and Fred Van Vleet (Toronto). Schröder is a better defender than both of them but a worse offensive player. But it’s never been about what Schröder is worth but what the market is willing to pay him.

The Knicks have long coveted Schröder and New York is always a destination for European players, a symbol that they have made it overseas. The Knicks have a lot of money to spend, so why not? Pairing Schröder with Julius Randle will only make their team more complete if the fit works. As the playoffs illustrated, Randle can’t carry a team in the playoffs, he needs backcourt help.

A decade ago, Dennis Schröder played professionally in a German league before being drafted in the 2013 draft (17th pick) by the Atlanta Hawks where he understudied behind Jeff Teague. He was a member of the Atlanta Hawks team that won 60 games in the 2014-15 season. When the Hawks went rebuilding mode he was traded to OKC and now OKC is in rebuilding mode. The Lakers was Schröder’s best chance at a ring before he cashed in during this summer. But injuries dismantled the season.

In the playoffs, Schröder was underwhelming, 40% and 30% from three. In fact, his last three playoff runs had seen miserable three-point shooting and assists from Schröder.

A $100 Million for This? Playoff 3Pt% Playoff Assists
2018-19, OKC 30.0% 3.4
2019-20, OKC 28.9% 3.6
2020-21, LAL 30.8% 2.8

Schröder will never be confused with a clutch player. The $100 million club is usually reserved for those who get better as the season progresses when the stress is the highest, not those who are worse. What Schröder wants seems too rich of a deal for the Lakers who have a lot of holes to fill but how about a sign and trade for Russell Westbrook?

2020-21 Points 3-Pt % Assists Real Plus-Minus
Dennis Schröder, LAL 15.4 33.5% 5.8 26th
Russell Westbrook, WAS 22.2 31.5% 11.7 15th