1. Dennis Schroder
Price: Danny Green and a 2020-21 first-round pick (pick #28).
Contract: 1 year remaining, $15.5mil, unrestricted free-agent in 2021-22.
One of my favorite moves made by any team this offseason, the trade for Dennis Schroder was a big coup for the Lakers.
The biggest weakness on the 2019-20 iteration of the team was a tertiary scoring option. It ultimately didn’t matter, because LeBron James and Anthony Davis are both top 5 players and happened to stay healthy all season, but I couldn’t help but think how much trouble the team would be in if either were to miss extended time.
Additionally, as immortal as LeBron continues to look, father time is ultimately undefeated. He’s on the verge of 36 years of age and will be commencing the 2020-21 season with less rest than normal.
The benefits of adding a scoring threat like Dennis Schroder to take some of the scoring load off LeBron cannot be understated.
Last season, Schroder enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career, finishing second in the 6MOTY voting en route to being a key cog of an Oklahoma City Thunder team that was on the verge of upsetting the Houston Rockets in the playoffs.
He can score the ball (18.9 PPG on 47% from the field), can shoot from three (38.5%), is a surprisingly very good defender (85th percentile in Defensive PIPM), and is an underrated passer (82nd percentile in Passing Creation Volume as per BBall Index).
Playing in a lot of three-guard lineups in Oklahoma City, Schroder has also developed into a very good off-the-ball player (98.6th percentile according to BBall Index), which means he’ll fit seamlessly alongside LeBron in closing units, as well as running the second unit (either as a starter or reprising his sixth man role).
The fact that the Lakers acquired such a good player, one that fills the team’s biggest need and one that is only just entering his prime, is impressive in a vacuum. However, the fact that Schroder came for the low, low cost of Danny Green and a late first-round pick in a weak draft class, is incredible.
Next up, in one of the offseason’s most surprising moves, a player that many Lakers fans loved to hate last year moved across the hall.