Worried about Dennis Schröder’s shot? Jacob Eisenberg with Sheridan Hoops says don’t be. In his two-page analytic breakdown of how Schröder’s game translates to the NBA, Eisenberg describes how, despite any weaknesses, Schröder is in a perfect situation with the Hawks: Playing behind Jeff Teague will allow Schröder to develop at his own pace and take more shots in catch-and-shoot situations, where he excels.
According to Synergy Sports, Schröder shot an absurd 52.6% on catch-and-shoot opportunities in Germany last season. In other words, when it came to spot-up jump shots, he was undeniably elite. Schröder’s 1.56 points per possession on catch-and-shoot opportunities ranked him fifth among all shooters across the European leagues (per DraftExpress).
Through two preseason games, Schröder shot 6-for-21 (29%) from the field and 1-for-8 (13%) from 3-point range. I suspect this is because Mike Budenholzer has primarily used Schröder as a lead guard. Schröder’s optimal role at this stage may be as the recipient in catch-and-shoot situations created by teammates. For example, if Schröder is on the court when pick-and-roll action is initiated by Teague, he will have more opportunities to shoot off of kick-outs.
Dual point guard lineups have become a trend in the NBA, which the Hawks helped perpetuate last season by pairing Teague with Devin Harris. Schröder would seem to be an ideal compliment to Teague as the latter has had some success at guarding shooting guards while the former excels at fighting through screens and staying with the opposing team’s primary ball handler.
When Schröder broke down a helpless Jannero Pargo to set up the winning runner in the lane last night, it seemed to announce that the Hawks’ rookie point guard is ready to contribute immediately. Schröder’s promise begs the question of how he was so overlooked in the draft, and Eisenberg compares him to Brandon Jennings, another player whose game was better suited for the NBA than Europe.
For those still in doubt, Eisenberg points out that even Schröder’s impressive performance at NBA Summer League seemed to sell his potential short. He noted that, although Schröder averaged an appreciable 5.6 assists per game, he should have averaged more:
In the five games, Schröder dished out four passes that led directly to fouls on what would’ve otherwise been considered as easy layups. Factor in an additional 18 passes over the five-game stretch in which his teammates either missed uncontested jump shots in their hot zones or missed moderately defended layups at the rim, and it is clear Schroder’s assists totals, in even the most conservative of estimates, should have been closer to eight per game.
All things considered, it’s possible to be encouraged by the Hawks’ progress so early in a new era. The turnovers in the first two preseason games are to be expected while installing a new offense after massive personnel turnover. Mike Scott’s game-high 19 points is encouraging, although it’s worth mentioning that he was also a game-worst minus 13. Budenholzer let his young players close and appears to be more interested in seeing what he has at this point than performing lineup experimentation.