The Atlanta Hawks were ousted in the first round by the top-seeded Indiana Pacers. After a fascinating seven-round battle with the top seed, there have been arguments back and forth on whether it was a successful 2013-2014 campaign for the Atlanta Hawks; some say they had overachieved, some say they underachieved. Over the next couple weeks, we will break down the Hawks season and we will dish out grades for each of the Hawks players. Who played well, who was a disappointment, who will be back next year? We will dish out everything you want to hear about the Hawks past season, and what is to come ahead.
First, some quick requirements. We will only feature players that played in at least 10 games with the Hawks this season, so sorry Jeremy Tyler, James Nunnally, and Antawn Jamison; you were all part of the exciting journey in some capacity, but that is all the pub you will get in our season recaps.
Receiving his important check marks today is the rookie point guard, Dennis Schröder.
Schröder was taken 17th overall in the 2013 NBA draft out of Germany. At 6-foot-2, Schröder has a wingspan over 6-foot-8, and that length and athleticism, combined with his likeness to pass before he shoots, drew instant comparisons to Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. Although the comparisons were premature and unfair for someone who still hasn’t turned 21, you can see where the thought comes from. Schröder has good instincts on the court and has an advanced feel for the game. Although he did struggle to shoot the ball, 72-for-188 from the field and 10-42 from three-point range, Schröder showed the ability to run the offense and play quality on-ball defense.
Schröder chalked up a high assists rate (over 22%) in his rookie campaign, but he also threw up a high turnover rate (also over 22%), but some of that could be expected for a young point guard.
Schröder found himself backing up Jeff Teague early in the season, but lost that role to Shelvin Mack and was eventually sent to the D-League for a short stay. Schröder would continue to find uneven minutes and give uneven performances in his time, but also showed glimpses of why he was a first round draft pick, and almost always showed that he is just 20 years old.
Shining Moment: This one is a bit of a toss-up, although Schröder played in 49 of the team’s games, he also received a trip to the NBA’s developmental League and you could consider his playing time when he was up with the Hawks to be uneven. His highest minute count of the season was just over 27 minutes, but that was in the Hawks 11th game. Schröder had 6 points and 7 assists in just 19 minutes in an October victory over the Sacramento Kings, but also recorded four fouls in that game. Schröder broke into double-digit scoring twice this year with two 10-point efforts, but was never a focal point of the offense.
Letter Grade: B- : Schröder will get the benefit of the doubt from me, as it seemed as if first year head coach Mike Budenholzer was always trying to figure out the right rotations for his team to be most successful. In addition, having to contend with the amount of injuries that the Hawks encountered does not much make the issue of playing time any more clear. For a young player like Schröder, not knowing exactly where you fit in may be tough. There was one instance where Schröder came into a game this year and turned the ball over on his first possession, and was sent right back to the bench. Being a rookie in the NBA is extremely difficult, but Schröder should that he has a ton of value and a very interesting skill set, and looks like he will be a key component in the Hawks future.
2014-2015 season outlook: Mack is an upcoming free agent and it will be extremely interesting to see where Danny Ferry goes with the backup point guard position. Schröder will most likely be fighting with whatever guard the Hawks bring in for the right to back up Teague, however Schröder is plenty talented and all indications from the Hawks would indicate that they believe in him. Schröder could very well make huge strides between now and this time next year and quite possibly be a huge part of the 2014-2015 Hawks. It will also be interesting to see if Schröder is the type of player that could play alongside Teague and co-exist on the floor at the same time; the two could create a dynamic attack on the offensive end.