Eighth-year veteran Dennis Schroder is among the four key signings made by the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers this off-season, alongside Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol, and Wesley Matthews. He was acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder for Danny Green and the 28th pick of the 2020 NBA Draft.
The dynamic point guard is a welcomed addition to the reloading squad, and the Purple and Gold may have just gotten a preview of his real assertiveness.
While on a Zoom call with the media earlier this week, Schroder addressed his potential role for the team, particularly whether he’ll be a starting PG or not. He made his preference clear.
“I did this off-the-bench stuff already in two years with OKC … I think I try to move forward, and I think with [Anthony Davis] and LeBron [James], I can be helpful as a starter in the PG position.”Via Dave McMenamin of ESPN
Schroder’s current thought process is arguably reasonable as he suddenly did went backwards role-wise, right as he was entering his prime. He was a young, European guard who rose from bench warmer, sixth man, and starter across five seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, but then reverted back into a bench role when he got shipped to OKC in 2018.
For what it’s worth, he did well as a back-up to Russell Westbrook in 2018-19 (15.5 PPG) and Chris Paul in 2019-20 (18.9 PPG) – he even finished second in the NBA Sixth Man of the Year voting this past season.
Hopefully, though, Schroder is not forgetting that the shift was due to his shortcomings when he was a starter. As the Hawks’ lead guard and primary option in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, the team kept going down in the pecking order, all despite his healthy averages of 18.6 points and 6.3 assists per game in that timeframe. In the latter season, Atlanta actually finished dead-last in the Eastern Conference.
The Lakers’ starting PG slot
The Lakers’ point guard duties have rested heavily on LeBron James more than anyone over the last two seasons. After a mediocre 2018-19, James did a superb job in 2019-20, so much so that he averaged a career-high in assists per game (10.2) and became the oldest player to lead the league in that category.
It’s hard to imagine James giving up the lead playmaking role, especially since he’s always been effective as a ball-dominant player. However, keep in mind that he had a very, very, short off-season – easily the shortest of his NBA career (71 days) – which means that he’s likely to cruise along early in the season.
But, of course, considering the NBA’s current makeup, where line-up tweaks are easy to do, we can definitely see a scenario wherein Schroder and James are both starting, with the latter acting as the floor general.