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Dennis Schröder shows improvement, more needed

The young guard shows great promise, unless his mistakes hinder his opportunities to show it.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

He had nine points, four assists and even added a blocked shot to his first preseason game of 2014, but as this showed the potential impact of Dennis Schröder on a Hawks game, so too the other side of the ledger showed the improvement left to be done in the 2013 first round draft pick.

Schröder had six turnovers and missed five of his seven shots. Those five felt like 60 considering Schröder missed them at the rim, usually after a sweet drive to the hoop. It's an area of his game that shows great potential, using his speed to create scoring ops for himself and his teammates, but without the finish, it's a lost opportunity.

"Coach this summer worked with me a lot on that (getting to the rim on drives). He told me to use it in the game, get my teammates involved on kick-outs or finish by myself," Schröder acknowledged. "But I have to keep working on it. Still working on it."

The six turnovers were sloppy, but the defense the young guard played at times on Russ Smith almost looked predatory. Schröder seemed to smell the fear on Smith and got into the young Pelican, almost right as Smith got to halfcourt.

"Yeah, for sure,"Dennis laughed as I asked him about smelling fear on Smith. "Jimmer, too, I could do that. I feel like (when it's like that) I can take them full court, do it every time when it's a dead ball, free throw or something."

The preseason should be the time where Dennis shows what positive impact he can make in the Hawks rotation. Dennis' rookie year, which contained a river of growing opportunities, was likely the importance of bringing Shelvin Mack back. While Mack played little point guard in this preseason game, if Schröder is unable to stay on the court, Mack is ready to reprise his solid role from the 2013-14 season.

Schröder knows what his charter is for his coach and team, "Defense first, share the ball on offense," Schröder repeats. Ï think we are to try to compete every night, to play hard. I feel that's what we do."

Whether Dennis can provide more good than bad will determine his role in the Hawks rotation, as it did last season. The good is there, and its obvious, but for now, so are the blemishes.