I predicted big things for Dennis Schröder at the start of the season. With the Hawks announcing that Schröder will be assigned to the NBA Development League, I’m sure a lot of people, including Schröder himself, must be disappointed. They shouldn’t be, because the D-League is exactly what Schröder needs to take the next step in his career.
I watched the D-League extensively last year due to my fascination with Royce White, so allow me to make a few observations. The D-League has a scarcity of size because most big men who can play at that level already have multiple contract offers overseas. Front court players toiling in the D-League are typically either draft picks on assignment or players who do not wish to play overseas.
As such, the fact that Mike Scott was sent down last season and lit the D-League up doesn’t prove much. There simply isn’t much NBA-caliber post defense to be found. What Schröder will encounter, however, are a bunch of undersized scoring guards (think Jared Cunningham) who are trying to prove themselves on every possession. This actually makes a D-League assignment highly beneficial for Schröder because all he needs is to tighten up his handle and stop committing so many turnovers.
Send John Jenkins down to the D-League and it won’t necessarily help because D-League teams aren’t any better at guarding the 3-point line than the Hawks are. But Schröder will face a number of lightning-quick guards, all of whom have something to prove against any player with an NBA contract. Scott wouldn’t benefit as much. He needs to keep getting lit up in 4th quarters by players like Boris Diaw until he figures NBA defense out.