Entering the season, Hawks fans were not thrilled after former All-Star Point Guard Jeff Teague was traded to the Indiana Pacers in June and Dennis Schroder would take over as the Hawks starting point guard. Fans thought Dennis wasn’t ready and needed more time to develop for a starting position on a NBA roster. Also, some fans felt he was immature and throughout the season, expressed their frustrations with Schroder.
Schroder proved to most fans that he’s a starter in the NBA and that he’s got many bright years ahead. The Hawks front office expressed their trust in Dennis prior to the season by signing him to a 4-year, $70 million dollar extension. It was perfect timing and well deserved.
In his fourth year in the NBA and first season as a starter, Schroeder averaged (17.9) points per game, (6.3) assists per game, and (3.1) rebounds per game. He’s a scoring point guard, which is both an advantage and disadvantage in the NBA for someone trying to learn the game as a starter. At times, Dennis went through growing pains which affected the team’s ball movement and we saw ill advised decision making in his choices to take a shot over passing the ball to his shooters which resulted in turnovers.
Schroder’s best performance of the regular season was against the Milwaukee Bucks on December 9th in a 114-110 victory. He posted a career high (33) points going 12-19 shooting, 4-7 behind the arc, (4) assists, (3) rebounds, a block and a steal. Another memorable performance in the January 29th victory against the New York Knicks where he posted (23) points, a career high (15) assists, and (4) rebounds.
At times, the offense flowed better with Malcolm Delaney and Jose Calderon while Dennis was out of the game or going through a slump. Overall, Schroder had more memorable moments than bad ones. Other than Paul Millsap, Dennis was one of our primary leaders on this team and it was never more evident than during the First Round of the NBA Playoffs. In the series against Washington, he led the team in scoring by averaging (24.7) points per game! He was simply outstanding in the series against the Washington Wizards and without his play, the Hawks are probably swept.
As Year Two approaches, Dennis Schroder’s potential can’t go anywhere but up. We saw a lot of doubters grow to respect him this season, especially in the playoffs. Hawks fans, we should all be excited about our future with Schroder at the helm, he’s 23 and is far from done making an impact not only for the Hawks but around the NBA. If he continues to put in the hard work, we could have a top tier point guard eventually.
Dennis Schroder’s Season Grade: A-