The Atlanta Hawks have been cruising towards a point guard decision for two seasons. They made that decision on Wednesday when they dealt Jeff Teague to the Indiana Pacers in a three-team trade that also involved the Utah Jazz. Now the ball is in Dennis Schröder’s court and the Hawks are his to lead and it is up to him to show everyone that he is ready for the challenge.
Schröder has enjoyed some ups and downs throughout his three year career but has taken a sizable step forward in each of the past two seasons. He teamed with Teague to form a solid one-two punch for Atlanta and often at times shared the backcourt in small alignments. The presence of Schröder afforded Mike Budenholzer the opportunity to ride the hot hand down the stretch of many games.
However, that probably wasn’t a workable long term solution and the contract situations of both Teague and Schröder necessitated a decision. Teague has become a steady floor general and a quiet leader but was entering the final year of his contract and at age 29 was not going to be an inexpensive option going forward.
Schröder has flashed enough potential to show a higher ceiling than Teague but at 22 years of age is still an unfinished product. Still, with restricted free agency looming, the Hawks needed to find out if Schröder is the point guard of the future for the franchise and that simply couldn’t happen in Teague’s presence.
Schröder is not lacking in confidence and his brashness can sometimes be a detriment to both he and the Hawks. However, Teague was often criticized for being passive and that is something that has never been said about Schröder.
Schröder’s biggest challenge going forward is becoming the leader that his teammates and head coach can rely on. It will be a much different role for him that is for sure but one that he has had his eyes on for quite some time. The skills are there, the decision making must improve but make no mistake, the spotlight is now shining squarely on Dennis Schröder