The NBA offseason has unofficially flipped from the intrigue that surrounds the draft and free agency and into full-fledged preview mode with an eye on 2017-2018. One such manifestation of that is the roll-out of various lists that rank players, both by position and overall within the league as a whole.
Earlier in August, Mika Honkasalo of HoopsHype ranked the league’s point guards and Dennis Schröder of the Atlanta Hawks fell outside the top 20. In fact, he trailed three incoming rookies to land at No. 23 overall with the following description.
The Hawks are going down the tank this season after losing Paul Millsap in free agency and dumping Dwight Howard (but inexplicably taking on more long-term salary) to the Hornets. Schroder will be forced to make every play on the offensive end, and that puts the young German point guard in a tough position.
Among NBA people, Schroder is a divisive player. Superficially, Schroder puts up solid numbers, 17.9 points and 6.3 assists with not terrible efficiency, and has improved every season in his four-year career. Whether or not those numbers will translate to team success is another question, and Schroder’s jump shot remains shaky. Last season, the Hawks were better without him on the floor, which is not encouraging considering he played a ton of minutes with Millsap.
The writer makes sure to note that Schröder’s counting numbers were strong a year ago and that goes without saying at this point. Still, it is always a good reminder to note that the young point guard “will be forced to make every play on the offensive end” and, while that was the case for much of last season, the loss of Paul Millsap could lean Atlanta even further in that direction.
In some ways, seeing Schröder trailing the likes of Lonzo Ball, Markelle Fultz and Dennis Smith Jr. is unnerving, simply because most rookies are not “winning” players immediately. Still, some Hawks fans will certainly take exception to Schröder landing behind Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon, Denver’s Jamal Murray and even Clippers guard Patrick Beverley.
As the new season approaches, the debate continues about just how good Dennis Schröder currently is and, especially, how good he can be in the future. We’ll learn quite a bit in 2017-2018 but, for now, one outlet believes he doesn’t crack the top 20.
What say you?