Dennis Schroder inbounds the ball as Isaiah Thomas looks on in agony. @ATLHawks
Hawks backup Point Guard, Dennis Schroder enjoyed a career year in his third NBA season. After a breakout year in 2014-15, Dennis faced high expectations coming into this year. Before the season started, there were already whispers on social media about how Dennis should be the starter and Jeff Teague should come off the bench or get traded. Those whispers quickly turned into shouts. As the season progressed, Teague often times appeared to be disengaged and even found himself on the bench during some crucial 4th quarters.
Dennis Schroder enters the game for Jeff Teague.
Each 4th quarter that Dennis played seemed
to increase his confidence and swagger. Something that Teague seemed to lack at times during the season. Finally, Teague admitted that he was nursing an ankle injury that had been bothering him since April 2015.
Although it seemed like Dennis was vastly outplaying Jeff, that wasn’t the case. Dennis struggled with inconsistency. This was especially true with his jump shot. He was either blazing hot, or ice cold. In addition Dennis also struggled with finishing at the basket and with sometimes careless turnovers. Overall, Schroeder shot 42% from the field which is decent but just 32% from deep. This led defenders to often dare him to shoot the three.
Dennis gets denied by Kyrie Irving
Perhaps Dennis’ greatest strength was his ability to snake through the defense with his lighting speed and elusiveness and drive to the hole. Despite his great ability to get to the hole, too often he got his shot blocked or simply lost control of the ball. Going forward, he’ll have to do a better job of drawing contact or adjusting his shot. He will also need to work on his decision making and cut down his turnover rate. But the willingness and grit to go to the hole when he’s often the smallest player on the court is something that can’t be taught and a major positive.
From the day Dennis was drafted, it was evident that he would eventually become Coach Bud’s point guard. Often times Bud could be seen ripping in to Dennis after a missed defensive assignment or such. Some may say that it seems like Bud doesn’t like Dennis but in actuality the opposite is true. Bud uses every opportunity he can as a teaching moment which will pay off in the future. As the season continued, you could tell that Bud’s trust in Dennis grew each game, giving him a much longer leash and even drawing up potential game winners for him.
Bud rips into Dennis after committing a flagrant foul in the playoffs.
As many young players do, Dennis let the emotion of the game get the best of him sometimes and that moment was evident during the 1st round series vs. the Boston Celtics. Isaiah Thomas and Dennis Schroder repeatedly went at each other during the physical six game series. Dennis ended up with multiple technical fouls and a flagrant foul. Despite these costing the team some points, you can’t question his toughness, grit and fight on the court.
The future is bright for Dennis Schroder. It is widely believed that he will go in to next season as the Atlanta Hawks starting point guard . Current starter Jeff Teague will likely be traded clearing the way for Dennis to run the show. This year he averaged 11 points per game and 4.4 assists per game while playing only 20 minutes per contest. If Dennis does earn the starting nod for next season, we could expect Dennis to potentially become a 17 points per game, 8 assists per game player. At only 22 years old, we may have a future All-Star on our hands.
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