Given the Los Angeles Lakers’ early postseason exit, the team’s focus now revolves around how they will conduct their offseason. Arguably their biggest decision this summer will be whether the team decides to keep or move on from Dennis Schroder.
In the aftermath of the Los Angeles Lakers’ disappointing playoff performance, many folks have been quick to criticize Schroder. There is no getting around how poor his play was against the Suns, namely in Game 5.
As a result, it is easy to wonder whether the Lakers should bother to hold onto Schroder. He did not step up to the plate when the Lakers needed him most.
Conversely, it is important to be mindful of the following. Schroder was crucial in terms of keeping the purple and gold intact when LeBron James and Anthony Davis were out for long stretches during the regular season.
That being said, it is every bit as fair to contend the Lakers may want to consider retaining the wiry point guard. He showed at times he was more than capable of being a solid third option, and the Lakers should factor that in when deciding what to do with the German native.
While that is true, what is above-mentioned hardly scratches the surface. The team needs to also be cognizant of various other pros and cons when figuring out whether to keep Schroder aboard.
For example, it is difficult to not note that Schroder was not exactly the most reliable shooter from downtown this season. While he shot a career-best 38.5 percent from long range last year, he converted just 33.5 percent of his treys this time around.
Needless to say, that is a five percent differential, which is nothing to take lightly. The Lakers in general were inconsistent from three-point territory in 2020-21, and more was expected from Schroder in this department.
On the other hand, the floor general proved to be a lot more effective when driving to the rim. When he utilized his above-average speed, it led to easier opportunities for himself and others out on the wing.
In furtherance of this, Schroder demonstrated noticeable improvement with his passing this year in comparison to his time with Oklahoma City. Granted, this was somewhat expected since he was a sixth man while with the Thunder, the 27-year-old nevertheless averaged 5.8 dimes per game for Los Angeles. That is nearly two assists more than he ever averaged as a member of the Thunder.
This is critical because the Lakers tend to rely on James to distribute the rock. Thus, it was mighty important having someone else that knew how to keep others involved.
However, it is fair to say his turnover ratio could be better. His 2.7 turnovers per game during the recent campaign are tied for the second-worst mark of his NBA tenure. Thus, if L.A. plans to keep the guard, they will expect him to do a better job of valuing each possession.
In addition, when Schroder is discussed, it would be a crime to not reference his feistier side. He brings a certain swagger to the squad and general manager Rob Pelinka took note of that throughout the campaign. Via Corey Hansford of Lakers Nation, Pelinka appreciates the “competitive nature” Schroder possesses.
“One of the genes in a player that we value so much in terms of a makeup or DNA here, mentality, is just the competitive nature and I think all of us can look at Dennis’ body of work and he is an extreme competitor and that’s on both sides of the ball,” Pelinka said. “He’s hounding guys, picking up players full court, diving for loose balls, bringing that energy on the defensive end and then of course has the ability to score at the point guard position. So we value just those qualities in him.”
Without a doubt, Dennis Schroder can be more than a pesky player to handle for the Los Angeles Lakers’ opposition.
For instance, there was a particular sequence against the Denver Nuggets this season when he dove for a loose ball twice. Frank Vogel was such a fan of the effort to the point where he helped lift Schroder off the hardwood.
Although Schroder’s effort was unquestionable at times, there were occasions where he had folks scratching their scalps. As indicated, the lack of execution in the playoffs speaks for itself. That is perhaps the biggest blemish on Schroder’s name at the moment.
Consequently, most would agree that the point guard is not worthy of receiving a bigger contract than the one he reportedly declined this season. It is simply too difficult to justify him earning more than $21 million per season.
It is significant to bear this in mind as well. Schroder publicly demanded that he wanted to start before the 2020-21 season was underway. Frankly, this was a pretty bold request since he was coming to a team that was fresh off a championship.
Therefore, a good part of the Los Angeles Lakers’ decision-making boils down to how they view Schroder as a teammate. In conjunction with this, whether they hold onto him will likely depend on whether he is willing to sacrifice.
He excelled as Oklahoma City’s sixth man prior to joining the Lakers. In all honesty, that is probably the better role for him moving forward given his style of play.
In all likelihood, Schroder may not be a fan of the notion of accepting a lesser role. Provided that he gambled on himself to receive an even bigger contract this offseason, he clearly views himself highly.
Certainly, Schroder will likely need to be okay with sacrificing some money, too. Championship players oftentimes need to sacrifice for the greater good, and Dennis’ case is no different. Otherwise, the Lakers are bound to be in the market for a new point guard.
Whether to hang onto Schroder will be one of Rob Pelinka’s most notable offseason decisions. Granted, the former’s postseason play was forgettable, most folks would typically agree that he was the Lakers’ third-best option behind their stars.
Time will tell if the purple and gold feel Schroder is worth investing in long-term. There is a fair amount to weigh when it comes to him, and the Los Angeles Lakers front office will have to decide if they believe he can help them win title number 18.