Coming off of a decent year with the Lakers that ended with a questionable playoff performance, how has Dennis Schröder looked so far with the Celtics? His $5.9 million will undoubtably be a bargain, but the Celtics need him to be more than that. A few games in and there are two obvious takeaways: ball movement and overconfidence.
In the season opener against the Knicks Schröder lead the team in assists with 8. He was the first off the bench with 32 minutes. This means he’s a bench player but contributing real minutes. With his passing skills he is able to both recognize cutters, and find guys in the right matchups. Now, 8 assists isn’t a lot, but if he can provide consistent scoring assistance, then he’s already proving his worth.
Coach Ime Udoka typically leaves Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown in when he rotates to a second unit. Schröder can be the perfect set up guy for those middle first half scoring runs. This is very similar to what Marcus Smart’s role used to be. He was a bench facilitator that played heavy minutes. Schröder can be the Marcus Smart’s Marcus Smart. Moving ball already seems to be a natural role for him and something this team desperately needs.
That being said, he played forgettably in the home opener against Toronto. He’s still finding his defined role, as anyone would be. But his natural ability as a passer is clearly his best skill going forward.
Another Marcus Smart
A team with two Marcus Smarts can have it’s benefits and drawbacks, namely the “I got this” mentality. Schröder made several plays in the season opener that reminded me of Smart in the worst way. He had some strange decisions, shot poorly, and was just unreliable. There are times when he’s going to shoot and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Having another “no no no, yes” player is frightening. It’s exactly what tanked his value after playing with the Lakers.
It could work towards the team’s benefit. It could mean Marcus Smart will mature a little and be a better decision maker. Or, it could mean that both will be up and down all season and we’ll all pull our hair out watching.
The team is trying to turn over a new leaf with new coach Ime Udoka, but its proving difficult. Schröder is a new face in the locker room and has had a decent career thus far. He was a star in Germany, decent in Atlanta, almost 6th man of the year in OKC, and up and down with the Lakers. He definitely wants to prove himself this year, with intentions of making a big contract. It’s far too early to tell. As of right now it could go either way.
(Photo: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports)
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