Whether Dennis Schroder is ready or not, he is the new face of the Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks have been a constant when it comes to the NBA playoffs and a model of consistency for the past decade. At 10 consecutive seasons of qualifying for the postseason, Atlanta trails only the two decade long playoff juggernaut that is the San Antonio Spurs in consecutive playoff appearances.
In this past decade, they have been the scrappy underdogs (see 2008 Playoffs series vs. Boston), returned to winning 50 games (2009-2010) and been the kings of the East (2014-2015). In all of that, the Hawks managed just one Conference Finals appearance as they often fell to the the better teams…and LeBron James.
The day has finally come, the Atlanta Hawks are rebuilding. Only three years removed from their 60-win season, only three players and coach Mike Budenholzer remain. All-stars Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver, Jeff Teague and DeMarre Carrol have all left in the past two years. A young, unproven roster will now be lead by…Dennis Schroder, whether the young 23-year-old German is ready or not.
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The 2013 NBA draft is not known as a gold mine of NBA talent. Even despite not being very high, the early picks of the draft have not liven up expectations. It’s the lottery/late first rounders that have give this draft class hope.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is a future MVP, Ruby Gobert is a defensive monster and C.J. McCollum is a scoring machine. Then we have Dennis Schroder, taken 17th overall. The Hawks grabbed a young, relatively unknown European prospect in hopes of finding a project to work on behind Jeff Teague.
A young, raw prospect with exceptional speed, good, pestering defense and ridiculous wingspan for a guy at 6-foot-1. After a nice Nike Summit Performance, the name of Dennis Schroder was starting to make it’s rounds.
Schroder spent his first three seasons coming off the bench for the Hawks, backing up Jeff Teague. It wasn’t until the hawks traded Teague to the Indiana Pacers in the summer of 2016 that Schroder was given the reins to run the point for Atlanta.
The Breakout Season
In the 2016-17 season, Schroder started in 78 of the 79 games he played in averaging 31.5 MPG. Career Highs in PPG (17.9), APG (6.3), RPG (3.1) and FG% (45.1) established him as the official point guard of the future for the franchise.
Schroder’s explosiveness on the offensive side of the ball and length really catapulted his game. His Assists Percentage (35.5), assists per game (6.3), and 2 pt FG attempts (920) all landed in the top 20 of the league.
As stated before, this is a new Atlanta Hawks team. Schroder remains the only key piece to this Atlanta Hawks team that saw success in previous years. Plain and simple, the Hawks are in full rebuild mode. A new look starting lineup along with a lack of depth will certainly be major road blocks for Atlanta.
As for Dennis Schroder, his offensive game with look to improve, even at the point, he will be the main option on offense. His offensive distribution is impressive, but he will need to find a reliable second option for this assist numbers to watch what they were last season.
Areas to which Schroder needs to improve in his next step to stardom area his 3.7 WS last season aren’t great as well as his barely above average 16.1 PER. Schroder’s 258 turnovers ranked 6th in the league last season. His 1.93 Assists to Turnovers was tied for 54th in the league. Schroder needs to take care of the ball this season. A decline or returning to last years turnovers numbers will be a bad sign for a team that will struggle on the offensive end, they certainly can’t afford those turnover numbers.
Yes a rebuild is in-store for Atlanta, a word that have not heard in quite some time. It will take time and it will take patience. The only thing certain for this franchise is they have their point guard of the future and as of right now he is the face of the franchise. Get ready NBA, it’s the Dennis Schroder show in Atlanta.