Dennis Schroder Not Ready for the Spotlight, Yet


Dennis Schroder elevated his game in his sophomore season last year, increasing his points per game totals from 3.0 PPG to 10.0 PPG.

Once slotted behind Shelvin Mack on the depth chart, the speedy and dynamic young point guard from Germany ascended up the roster for Head Coach Mike Budenholzer. With increased play comes increased responsibility, as Dennis Schroder regularly started for All-Star Jeff Teague when Teague was out due to injury.

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So far in 2015, Mike Budenholzer has started Dennis Schroder in place of Kyle Korver on back-to-backs as the SG continues to recover from injury, as well as two consecutive starts in place of the injured Jeff Teague. Dennis Schroder has a significant amount of upside, and given his play last season and this summer on the German national team during the Eurobasket tournament. 

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Schroder has had his moments so far in the 2015-2016 season, averaging 11.6 points per game on 42 percent shooting. He is also averaging 24.4 minutes per game — the highest total of his career. Though Dennis Schroder has progressed well, and could set his sights on perhaps becoming a star guard in the league, it became clear in Tuesday’s game at Brooklyn that the 22-year-old point guard still has a lot of development ahead of him.

In his rookie season, and to a certain extent last year, Dennis Schroder showed a predilection for playing out of control. Schroder hoists up unwarranted shot, dribbles the ball too much, or makes too many errant passes. Mike Budenholzer’s system is predicated on playing intelligently and limiting offensive turnovers. Dennis Schroder turned the ball over three times against the Nets on Tuesday, and single-handedly disrupted the Atlanta Hawks penultimate offensive possession where they had a chance to secure a narrow victory.

Instead, Dennis Schroder was once again out of control, nearly turning the ball over, missing a forced shot, and led to an eventual fast break where Thaddeus Young was fouled with 0.9 seconds left in a tie game. Young sunk both free-throws and led the Nets to victory. It’s so important that in the absence of Jeff Teague, the Hawks’ point guards play intelligently with the ball. 

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Mike Budenholzer was noticeably perturbed by the play of Dennis Schroder, calling for backup Shelvin Mack at certain points in the game in order to gain more control on the offensive end. Dennis Schroder brings so much to the table offensively. He is incredibly quick and can get to the basket, and has also developed his three-point shot. But when Schroder tries to do too much and plays out of control, he is a detriment to the flow of the Hawks offense.

Shelvin Mack meanwhile does not possess the same quickness off the dribble, or the flash of Dennis Schroder’s game, but is an effective floor general who plays intelligently with the ball. I would hate to hinder the development of Dennis Schroder, but perhaps it’s time for Shelvin Mack to receive more minutes on the floor, at least until Dennis Schroder calms down and can identify these glaring flaws in his game.

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I love Dennis Schroder’s game and what he brings to the team. Not many clubs have such a dynamic 1-2 punch with their starting and backup point guard. Until Dennis Schroder shows that he can play under control and limit those instances where he does not exhibit restraint, he is not ready to enter the conversation about becoming a starting point guard. He is still only 22-years-old and only in his third season, so there is not cause for concern. Given his age and his ability, Dennis Schroder can still become an excellent point guard for the Atlanta Hawks as he continues to buy into Mike Budenholzer’s system.