The Los Angeles Lakers are set to acquire Dennis Schroder for the #28 overall pick and Danny Green.
The Los Angeles Lakers are buyers this offseason. The Oklahoma City Thunder are sellers. Their first trade is trading sixth man Dennis Schroder to the Lakers. Chris Paul is their most marquee trade piece. But it comes at a huge cost: two years and $82,569,960 left in his contract (the last year is a player option, which he would undoubtedly exercise).
Lake Show Life has already explained why the Lakers should not acquire Chris Paul.
- Related: Los Angeles Lakers: 5 reasons not to trade for Chris Paul
- Related: Why a Chris Paul trade is not going to happen
I am inclined to agree with this. The price tag is just too high. The on-court fit is not perfect given both Paul and LeBron James like to dominate the ball. Dennis Schroder, on the other hand, is a much better value: one year and $15.5 million is a great deal for a third scoring option. The Lakers intend to resign him in 2021 free agency.
Bingo! The Lakers found their missing piece!
Dennis Schroder is exactly what the Lakers need: that much-coveted third scoring option who can provide instant offense coming off the bench. Lakers had trouble scoring at times. They were only eleventh in offensive rating. Nobody else besides LeBron James and Anthony Davis were reliable scoring options all last season.
Schroder should be the guy to address this concern. His numbers were very impressive last season: 18.9 points on a career-high 38.5% three-point shooting, which will be greatly appreciated given the Lakers’ well-documented need for outside shooting.
Schroder was instrumental in the Oklahoma City Thunder exceeding expectations this season. His scoring punch alongside Chris Paul and Shae Gilgeous-Alexander gave the Thunder a unique three-headed monster at the point guard position.
This is important because he has experience in playing alongside ball-dominant stars. I am also encouraged because the Lakers aren’t making this deal without first having checked with Paul as a pseudo job reference – given he and LeBron James are close friends.
Of course, acquiring Schroder means Rajon Rondo is almost certainly leaving in free agency. I am sad because I am a huge Rondo fan. By all accounts, Rondo is well-liked by the Lakers organization. Ideally, he would stay. However, he is going to demand a salary and a role beyond the Lakers’ constraints, per NBA reporter Marc Stein.
Rondo was gone anyway. The Lakers needed a longer-term solution at point guard. Schroder is seven years younger than Rondo.
I am only concerned about Schroder’s high usage rate (26.2) as it relates to playing alongside LeBron and AD. Assuming he closes games, can he thrive as a third scoring option on offense? He was the second scoring option in OKC.
The scoring hierarchy is a big deal. It is more than a talking point. As a player, it is much more difficult to get into a scoring rhythm when the ball is in your hands less often. Schroder had his hands on the ball more than anyone else in OKC.
He will have to adjust.
Schroder has always come off the bench in his NBA career. He will reprise the same role as a Laker. In fact, he will immediately take Rondo’s role as the first guard coming off the bench. The Lakers found success in taking LeBron James out midway through the first quarter and then substitute him back in for Anthony Davis at the start of the second quarter.
The second unit will look much different from Schroder manning the controls. Rondo is a pass-first point guard. Alex Caruso and Kyle Kuzma got the vast majority of their buckets running ahead in transition. Rondo also had wink-wink chemistry with Anthony Davis.
Schroder is much different. He is a score-first point guard who likes to probe the defense for the ideal shot. He will have to learn how to look for AD posting up in transition. Caruso and Kuzma will have to learn how to adjust their timing when cutting to the basket while playing off Schroder. Each point guard is unique in how they see the court.
When Schroder looks to score, the Schroder-AD pick-and-roll has some potential as a secondary offensive fulcrum. Look at Schroder expertly attacking Houston’s defense amid cramped spacing.
As I said, Schroder can score.
There are some differences between Schroder and Rondo. This metric highlights their differences the most: assist rate. Schroder assists his teammates about 30% of the time. Rondo assists his teammates about 50% of the time.
That is significant. About 20 percentage points. Other players are not going to get as many open looks. That may or may not be a big deal.
Schroder will also have to learn how to knock down spot-up shots and cutting off-ball. OKC’s offense is similar to the Lakers. Both teams were very isolation heavy. The Lakers like to attack defenses isolations from the mid-post area, whereas OKC’s isolations came solely from the perimeter.
There are different vantage points to attack scrambled defenders. Schroder got to attack scrambled defenses on the wing. That’s where LeBron and AD like to start their attacks. He will have to learn to attack from different spots on the court. Schroder will learn where to go as the season progresses.
Even if he does not pan out. At least Schroder did not cost the Lakers much. Danny Green was last season’s prized free-agent acquisition. He now cannot throw a grape into the ocean! The #28 overall pick may yield a key rotation piece like Kyle Kuzma (KEEP HIM!) or somebody that we never hear from again.
This is an incredible acquisition. Rob Pelinka made an exceptional move. If Schroder can maintain his outstanding play, the Lakers are now a complete team. There will be growing pains stemming from the Rondo-Schroder transition.
Nevertheless, Dennis Schroder will be the Lakers’ much-needed third scoring option. If he lives up to expectations, this move makes the Lakers the favorites to repeat as NBA Champions.