After winning the 2020 championship over the Miami Heat in six games at Walt Disney World in the NBA bubble, the LA Lakers retooled the roster around superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis. General manager Rob Pelinka acquired Dennis Schroder from the Oklahoma City Thunder and signed Marc Gasol, Montrezl Harrell, and Wesley Matthews in free agency.
Following their opening night loss to the LA Clippers, the Lakers bounced back on Christmas by defeating the Dallas Mavericks to improve to 1-1 on the young season. While Gasol and Matthews have gotten off to slow starts in LA, Schroder and Harrell are already flourishing with the Purple and Gold.
The Lakers signed Harrell to a two-year, $18.9 million contract, stealing the 2019-20 Sixth Man of the Year from the Clippers. Meanwhile, Schroder was acquired by Pelinka from the Thunder in exchange for Danny Green and Jaden McDaniels. The Lakers love what the 27-year-old brings to the table, so much so that the franchise is ready to reward him after just two games.
Dennis Schroder is one of the most underrated players in the NBA
With the Thunder last season, Dennis Schroder averaged 18.9 points and 4.0 assists per game off the bench while shooting 46.9% from the field, 38.5% from beyond the arc, and 83.9% from the free-throw line. The explosive guard is a three-level scorer and one of the best drivers in the NBA.
After the Lakers lost Rajon Rondo to the Atlanta Hawks in free agency, Rob Pelinka knew he had to go out and get a point guard. Since the Thunder were rebuilding after trading Chris Paul to the Phoenix Suns, Pelinka knew Schroder would be available and pulled the trigger on a deal to bring the veteran scorer to LA.
On top of being an explosive scorer, Schroder is a pest on the defensive end of the floor. LeBron James calls his new point guard “Dennis the Menace” since Schroder is a feisty defender.
The Lakers finally have a point guard who can stretch the floor
Rajon Rondo shot the ball well from deep for the Lakers in the Finals against the Heat. However, Dennis Schroder is a more reliable 3-point threat than Rondo, which will be huge for LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
When James and Davis get double-teamed in the post, Schroder will be able to roam around the arc and get free through back screens for wide-open shots. Last season with the Thunder, the Braunschweig, Germany native shot a career-high 38.5% on 3-pointers. Opposing teams can’t leave Schroder open on the perimeter, giving LeBron and Davis more room to operate on the floor.
Through the Lakers’ first two games of the 2020-21 season, Schroder is averaging 16.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 7.0 assists. Rob Pelinka loves what he sees from his new floor general and is supposedly ready to lock him up for the long-haul.
Lakers begin extension talks with Dennis Schroder
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Lakers have begun engaging with Dennis Schroder in contract extension talks. The new starting point guard in LA is in the final year of his contract. Schroder is making $15.5 million this season.
The Lakers already understand how valuable Schroder is to the team’s success since he can score at will in the half-court and is a stout defender. Rob Pelinka is making the smart move by trying to extend Schroder sooner rather than later.
With the Hawks, Thunder, and Lakers, Dennis Schroder has career averages of 14.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 4.6 assists. He has a good shot of winning his first NBA championship this season.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.