When the Thunder traded Carmelo Anthony and shed his massive salary, they acquired a legitimate standout point guard in the process. This was a fantastic move by Sam Presti and one that makes this team a lot better. Dennis Schroder is the best backup point guard the Thunder have had since they traded Reggie Jackson four years ago. Read below as we assess OKC’s improved backup PG spot.
After they traded Reggie Jackson, OKC continued to add sub-par backup point guards, who just never filled the void when Russ would get his rest. DJ Augustin struggled to play make. Randy Foye and Cameron Payne combined to average 5 points and 2 assists between them in 2015-16. Semaj Christon couldn’t score, and then Norris Cole who was signed was horrific. Last year, Raymond Felton led the team’s bench with 7 points per game, but really couldn’t make much of an impact. And now, FINALLY, Dennis Schroder is coming aboard to try and fix this backup slump.
In two years as the starting point guard for the Hawks following Jeff Teague’s departure, Dennis Schroder was a beast. He averaged 18 points, 3 rebounds, and 6 assists per game on 45% shooting in 2016-17. Last year, he averaged 19 points, 3 rebounds, and 6 assists per game, on 44% shooting. He was a leader for both teams and was able to get buckets in crunch time. He’s now coming back into a winning situation, after being part of the first Hawks team in 10 years to fail to qualify for the playoffs.
Schroder should be able to come in and give them 20-25 minutes a night, playing both behind Russ, and then next to him as well. His jump shot has come a long way over the past few years, while his passing ability is not to be questioned. They failed to get production from the shooting guard spot last year when Andre Roberson went down. Neither Alex Abrines, nor Terrance Ferguson was playable for more than a few minutes at a time. The acquisition of Corey Brewer didn’t really fix much either. With Roberson back, they cannot sub him out for Schroder to have two offensive-minded guards in the backcourt together.
Reggie Jackson played this same role for a few years before deciding he wanted to see greener pastures and more playing time. This was something he did very well, consistently improving his game from year-to-year. He has shown in larger sample size over his time in Detroit that his tenure in OKC set him up to be successful. Dennis Schroder will be tasked with doing the same. Be as good as he can defensively while being a second playmaker in the backcourt.
Some predictions for what he may average next year:
25 minutes per game
13.5 points per game
2.2 rebounds per game
4.1 assists per game
44% field goal percentage
38% 3-point percentage
OKC’s bench will most certainly rebound this year, led by their new backup point guard. Watch out!