Welcome to the sixth volume of the Dennis Schroder report. You can find volume five here.
As a reminder, the objective of this series is to track the potential progress of the Atlant Hawks starting point guard toward performing at the level of an average player or better at the position.
We are using four key statistical indicators to track his performance: effective field goal percentage (eFG%), free throws made per 100 possessions (FTM/100p), assist to turnover ration (ASST:TO) and defensive impact (the number of points per 100 possessions the team is better/worse when he is on the court as compared to when he is off of the court).
Since the last report, Schroder has made some progress in the three of the four statistical measures.
This is the area in which he has not made progress since the last report. His woeful three-point shooting continues to hold him back. After shooting 34 percent from the three point line last season he is now shooting 28.7 percent on long distance attempts this season, the worst mark of his career apart from his rookie season during which he had just 42 total attempts.
He is shooting 25.8 percent on 33 attempts from the three point line in his last eight games. His regression as a shooter in spot up attempts has been profound.
But it is noteworthy that Schroder has improved significantly in the mid-range. He is shooting a career high 45.2 percent on attempts from 10-16 feet and a career high 48.1% on attempts from 16 feet to the three point line. Those are solid numbers but the Hawks are generating an offensive rating of just 93.5 on possessions that end in a Schroder mid-range attempt. But that is still better than the offensive rating of 86.1 on possessions that end in a three-point attempt from Schroder.
The 24-year-old is young enough that some improvement is possible. But to use his effectiveness in the mid-range, it will require that is opens up other offensive actions for his teammates.
There is no doubt that Schroder’s mid-range game absolutely cannot be the central foundation of a good offense. But it is not on him to figure out how to put the right players and tactics around him.
Schroder has taken a nice step forward in his frequency of visits to the free throw line and he continues to convert at an elite level on his attempts. He is tenth in the league in free throw percentage among players with 150 attempts or more on the season.
In general, it would be encouraging to see this statistical trend continue to move in a positive direction. But it might be worth keeping in mind that Schroder was banged up heading into the All-Star break. There might be a correlation between increased free throw volume and injury risk.
For those curious as to how his issues shooting from three point range, his improvement in the mid-range and his increase in volume of free throw attempts have impacted his overall efficiency as a scorer, Schroder now has a true shooting percentage (TS%) of .515 as compared to the mark he had last season at .533. The league average TS% tends to be around .550 although that targets continues to move upward as teams continue to increasingly value shots from the three point line.
This is the statistical measure where Schroder has been playing well ahead of his play during last season. And given how differently the Hawks’ offensive scheme is from last season, he deserves some credit for his progress here.
Defensive Impact (on/off)
Schroder has this metric moving closer each volume toward the level at which he played last season.
Two volumes ago this number was at -14.5. The last volume reflected -9.2.
If you include the games that have taken place since volume four was issued, the number is at -2.5, well ahead of where this statistic was at the end of last season.
Further, if you evaluate his play from Jan. 8 (the date after which both Mike Muscala and Dewayne Dedmon returned from injury and the Hawks finally had their depth back at the center position) through the All-St break, the number is -0.1. So basically, this would suggest that he has not been a detriment to the defense since the players who started the season first and second on the depth chart at the center position have returned.
Also the Hawks have been a league average defense since Jan. 8.
So in summary, there are some potential reasons to feel a little bit encouraged about the recent play of the 24-year-old starting point guard. And that makes tracking this through the remainder of the regular season a worthwhile endeavor. Stay tuned.
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