The 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup has come to a close and Dennis Schröder and Germany are the last ones standing.
Schröder helped the Germans secure their first Naismith Trophy after going through a gauntlet that included Australia, Japan, Slovenia, Latvia, USA, and Serbia, a feat that wasn’t easy considering they also had to travel from Okinawa, Japan to Manila, Philippines in the middle of the World Cup.
The 17th overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft wasn’t as brash as Canada’s Dillon Brooks, nor did he have the resources the likes of USA and Lithuania had. Schröder let his game do the talking, more so after he had his worst performance in the World Cup.
Gutsy drives, nifty passes, and dagger 3-pointers made Schröder a difficult cover, but that he was able to do it within the confines of Germany head coach Gordie Herbert’s system made him even more dangerous. There was a lot of movement in the Germans’ offense and Schröder’s buy-in was critical in selling the system and winning the Naismith Trophy.
All of this must have the Toronto Raptors licking their chops knowing their starting point guard is already in midseason form.
Schröder signed a two-year, $26-million deal with the Raptors, a fair market offer given his play last season with the Los Angeles Lakers. With Toronto, the starting job is his to lose, given how Malachi Flynn and Jeff Dowtin are the only point guards on the roster.
It’s also a good one considering how he bet on himself in 2021 by shutting down any contract extension conversations with the Lakers (where amounts of as high as $84 million were floated around) following his first stint with the team and well, we all know how that turned out.
It’s quite early to jump to conclusions, but it can be said that Schröder will be looked up to with the Raptors. The likes of Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby are among the longest-tenured players in Toronto, but Schröder’s leadership will be valuable in helping this relatively young roster move past the rebuilding stage.
It hasn’t even been five years since the Raptors were crowned NBA champions and yet they missed the postseason in two out of the last three years. Part of that has come as they traded away important pieces (e.g., Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry), but it has also come as bouts of inconsistency have plagued Toronto.
Schröder’s arrival won’t take all of that away, but it will certainly help kickstart a program that needs a breath of fresh air. And given how he has been an integral part of the three-year program Germany set up, it’s safe to say that it won’t be a tough ask from him.
Of course, Schröder playing nonstop since EuroBasket 2022 should raise some wear and tear concerns and while this would normally be addressed by sitting out games, another workaround is to find other ways to utilize Schröder, who will turn 30 in a few days, without increasing his usage rate. Managing his minutes and making him work off the ball will likely be his best option.
Dennis Schröder is a world champion and a FIBA World Cup MVP and no one can take that away from him. After a few weeks of rest, the Toronto Raptors can now look forward to having their presumptive starting point guard in the fold and with the summer he had, best believe that the Raptors will get the best version of Schröder.