The starting point guard for the Atlanta Hawks continues to stay within the top 15 in the league among starting point guards in PER (player efficiency rating). Does that make him a top 15 starting point guard? I think the consensus answer would be no. In my opinion, the PER stat rewards usage too much. Which is why we have the Dennis Schroder report.
Players that can be responsible for creating offense certainly have value. But as to determine how a player rates against his peer group one has to dig a bit deeper. So let’s do that.
As a refresher we explore the following:
eFG% - which is a FG% stat that measures the value of taken and made shots from 2-point and 3-point range.
FTM/100 possessions - Schroder often plays like a score first point guard. Since he is an elite free throw shooter he need to maximize the use of this skill as to make up for his below average eFG% and work toward being league average in scoring efficiency.
Assist-to-turnover ratio - This is a benchmark stat that is critical in evaluating all point guards.
Defensive Impact - we use on/off metrics to assess how many points per 100 possessions the defense is better or worse when Schroder is on the court versus when he is off the court.
Schroder’s eFG% has continued to slide below the mark of a top 20 point guard. This stat looked better around the end of November and in early December. But his three point shooting has been terrible since the end of November.
It’s hard to identify why his three point shooting has fallen off in this fashion. One thought I have is that the Budenholzer offense prior to this season had the point guards taking a pretty large share of their three point attempts near the left three point break. The offense was altered entering this season to incorporate more off ball screens and more dribble hand off action (DHO).
It could be that Schroder is just adjusting to having less predictability as to where and when his three point looks will come in the offense this season.
Take a look at his three point shot chart from last season and this season. If you look carefully, you will see there is more density in the shot chart from last season between the top of the key to the left three point break.
Schroder continues to perform reasonably well in this area. But if he can more regularly have games in which he takes six free throw attempts or more, it would allow him to have a more positive impact on offense.
As to be an above average offensive player, he will need to either recover his three point shooting or get to the free throw line more regularly.
Take a look at the top scorers at the point guard position and their associated shot attempts statistics. You can see among his peers he is on the lower end of free throw attempts for points guards that take a similar number of field goal attempts.
Schroder continues to perform well above where how he did last season in this area. However, he still is pretty pedestrian in assists per 36 minutes as compared to his peers.
The improvement this season is largely a result of his having reduced his volume of turnovers this season, which is a positive development.
Schroder continues to demonstrate that he is playing better on defense than he was earlier this season. But he continues to be statistically one of the worst defensive players in the league.
The Hawks have a defensive rating of 108.1, which ranks 26th in the league. The Hawks have a defensive rating of 102.4 when Schroder is not on the court, which would rank third best in the league. So his defensive play continues to be quite problematic.
Background on these chosen statistical targets from the original article:
The statistical measures we have chosen to use include effective field goal percentage (eFG%), free throws made per 100 possessions (FTM/100), assist to turnover ratio (AST:TO) and defensive impact for which we will use ESPN.com’s defensive real plus minus.
To establish some targets, we are using the last three NBA seasons in a weighted fashion. For example to identify a target eFG% for a top 20 starting point guard, we made our best effort to identify the 20th most efficient scorer from the field among qualified starters at the position. The statistical sample from the 2016-17 season was weighted 2x, the statistical sample from the 2015-16 season was weighted 1.5x and the 2014-15 sample was weighted 1.0x.
The philosophy behind this is based upon an attempt to account for how much the league has changed offensively over the last three seasons. Three point attempts are up across the board. A number of teams have embraced an approach to take the risks of increasing turnover frequency by playing faster and aiming to overwhelm opposing defenses physically and mentally.