Atlanta Hawks Rumors: What happens if Dennis Schröder isn’t traded?

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 20: Dennis Schroder
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 20: Dennis Schroder /

Prior to the 2018 NBA Draft, it was reported by several media outlets that the Atlanta Hawks made Dennis Schröder available in trade discussions. The drafting of Oklahoma PG Trae Young has caused rampant speculation that Schröder’s days with the Hawks are numbered.

On Monday, GM Travis Schlenk and HC Lloyd Pierce sang a different tune. What happens if they really do decide to keep their soon to be 25-year-old PG?

Atlanta Hawks GM Travis Schlenk clearly has yet to receive a fair value offer, for last year’s starting PG Dennis Schröder. Had he received such and offer, it’s a fair assumption to make, that Schröder would be gone already. The fact that less than a handful of teams are in search of a starting PG, is a factor in the Atlanta Hawks’ inability to move Schröder thus far. Another issue is, Dennis was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery in September of 2017.

The incident occurred following a fight, in a Dekalb County parking lot. The fact that Schröder publicly stated that he would like to be traded if the Atlanta Hawks were to continue the rebuild, didn’t help either. He even went as far as to name 2 possible destinations! The drafting of Trae Young is also a reason, for potential trade partners to withhold their best offers, for the Hawks’ PG. Many teams likely feel that the Hawks are desperate to trade Dennis.

The signs say that if Travis Schlenk doesn’t want to take pennies on the dollar for his incumbent PG, patience may be in order. I don’t see any feasible scenarios in which the mercurial Dennis Schröder, would agree to come off the bench. Dennis on multiple occasions in the past has voiced his desires, and displeasure, in relation to the happenings of the team, publicly via the German media. If he is asked to come off the bench, the Atlanta Hawks would certainly have another public media distraction on their hands. I’m also of the opinion it makes zero sense, to not start a top 5 draft pick, on a rebuilding team. So barring a trade, as strange as it seems, I can envision the Hawks initially experimenting with a 2 Point Guard lineup.

Dennis Schröder’s stats

Per Game Table

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 6/27/2018.

Trae Young’s Stats:

Per Game Table

Provided by CBB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 6/27/2018.

What the Atlanta Hawks lineup would look like

Point Guard: Trae Young
Point Guard: Dennis Schröder
Small Forward: Taurean Prince
Power Forward: John Collins
Center: Dewayne Dedmon

2nd Unit
Shooting Guard: Tyler Dorsey
Shooting Guard: Kevin Huerter
Small Forward: Kent Bazemore
Power Forward: Omari Spellman
Center: Mike Muscala

3rd String
Point Guard: Isaiah Taylor
Shooting Guard: Jaylen Morris
Shooting Guard: Antonius Cleveland
Small Forward: DeAndre Bembry
Center: Miles Plumlee

The Atlanta Hawks would have the smallest starting back-court in the NBA on paper should this scenario come to fruition. There would certainly be major problems on the defensive end. Young and Schröder are approximately the same sizes, but Dennis has a much longer wingspan. For this reason, Dennis would be given the task of guarding opposing 2 guards to start the game on a nightly basis. The exception for this is when teams have a scoring PG and a SG who is a lesser threat, Schröder would then be assigned to guard the opposing star PG.

This could be a defensive disaster, as Schröder gave up a career high 113 points per 100 possessions last season. That’s a horrid number. Trae Young must get stronger. He is unable to take on the tougher back-court assignment, at this stage in his career. Head Coach Lloyd Pierce is known as a defensive guru. Certainly, this would be an early opportunity, for him to showcase his acumen on that end of the floor.

For what the Schröder and Young back-court pairing would lack in defense, in theory, it should be quite the opposite on the offensive end of the floor. Trae Young, the 1st man to lead NCAA Division 1 in scoring and assists, projects to be an outstanding scorer and passer. Schröder who avenged 19.4 points and 6.3 points per game, is one of the fastest guards at getting to the basket, in the NBA today. Even though Dennis can sometimes be inefficient, scoring over 19 points per game in the NBA, is no easy task.

The dual PG duo, would be one of the quickest in the NBA, particularly with the basketball in their hands. They could put an extreme amount of pressure on opposing defenses together. Strategically the Hawks would have 2 players at the guard position who can both score and facilitate the offense. Either is capable of bringing the ball up court, and getting the Atlanta Hawks into their offensive sets. The team could play very fast.

Typically a coach would hate to take the ball out of the hands of a gifted play-maker like Trae, however, Young is equally as good of a shooter as he is a passer. He may even be a better shooter than passer. Dennis Schröder on the other hand, shot a meager 29% from beyond the arc last season. In his recent press conference, Head Coach Lloyd Pierce alluded to his coaching staff, having plans to help improve Schröder’s 3 point shot. He said this in regards to the pair being most effective playing together. Michael Cunningham of the AJC detailed the press conference in this article.

There is some hope shooting wise, as Schröder shot 35.1% from 3 in 2014-15, and 34% from long range in 2016-17. So it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Schröder could improve on those numbers, and become a respectable 3 point shooter. Until that time, Trae Young would likely spend the bulk of his time on the court with Dennis, at the Shooting Guard position. This would be ideal for the spacing of the pairing.

The key on making the 2 PG lineup work would be the distribution of minutes. Should Coach Pierce employ this strategy, he should take a page out of Houston Coach Mike D’Antoni’s book. The Rocket’s coach started James Harden and Chris Paul, both of whom played PG exclusively the previous season, in the same backcourt. The major factor is, he takes Chris Paul out of the game after 6 minutes go by. He then brings CP3 back about 3-4 minutes later, in place of Harden to run the 2nd unit.

Coach Pierce should use Trae Young in that same manner, in this scenario. There will likely be a major competition for minutes at the backup wing spots, but for the sake of our breakdown, we will give the nod to the veteran swingman Kent Bazemore as a 6th man. He would replace Trae Young in the backcourt 6 minutes into the game, and play SG.

A couple minutes later Young would return and replace Schröder as the PG. At the same time rookie, Kevin Huerter would enter the game at SG and Bazemore would slide over to SF. They would be joined on the 2nd unit by 1st round draft pick Omari Spellman at PF, and either Mike Muscala or Miles Plumlee at Center. Plumlee would play if Pierce wants a rim runner. Moose would get the nod if the coach wants to space the floor with 5 shooters.

Approximate distribution of minutes:

PG Dennis Schröder: 32 minutes – all at PG
PG Trae Young: 32 minutes – 16 at PG, 16 at SG
SF Taurean Prince: 32 minutes – 26 at SF, 6 at
PF John Collins: 32 minutes – all at PF
C Dewayne Dedmon: 24 minutes – all at C
6. Kent Bazemore: 24 minutes – 16 at SF, 8 at SG
7. Kevin Huerter: 18 minutes – all at SG
8. Omari Spellman: 14 minutes – 10 at PF, 4 at C
9. Miles Plumlee: 10 minutes – all at C
10. Mike Muscala: 10 minutes – all at C
11. Tyler Dorsey: 6 minutes – all at SG
12. DeAndre Bembry: 6 minutes – all at SF

Travis Schlenk and Lloyd Pearce have convinced many Atlanta Hawks fans, that they are serious about the playing Dennis Schröder and Trae Young together. Personally, I’m still not convinced, and I see it as an attempt to preserve Schröder’s trade value. I believe Schlenk will ship Schröder off as soon as he gets an offer he feels is fair. If that doesn’t happen by training camp, Schlenk will be faced with a difficult decision.

He will be forced to follow through with his statements, and allow Pierce to actually dispatch the 2 PG lineup, or he will be forced to take back a less than ideal return, for a 25-year-old PG. It’s too early to tell which direction he will go at this time. I’m not too thrilled about the prospects of Trae Young being mentored by Dennis Schröder, but I would prefer the Atlanta Hawks not take back bad contracts as they did in the Dwight Howard trade. I really do commend Atlanta Hawks General Manager Travis Schlenk, for exercising patience in this ordeal so far.

Next: Trae Young Headed to Atlanta

I will ask the same question that Kit Anderson asked in his article, Do the Atlanta Hawks see Dennis Schröder as a Role Model? Will Schlenk call team’s bluff and keep Schröder? Will he relent and unload Dennis for minimal return, in order to move on? Continue to check with Atl All Day for the latest news and rumors. Also please download the FanSided app and favorite All Atlanta Sports.