Welcome to the final edition of the Dennis Schroder report for the 2017-18 season. You can read the last edition here.
For those that have been following along all season and for those that might be new to this initiative, the objective of this endeavor has been to track key performance metrics as to ascertain whether or not the Hawks’ starting point has been making progress toward becoming an average or better starter at his position.
It would unfair to not at least consider the context of his playing on a completely team with a significantly different set of objectives from last season. Still, we chose the statistical targets that we felt would best reflect, even in a new environment, his progress or lack thereof.
Schroder’s shooting regressed this season, as you can see. The greatest impact to his overall efficiency as a shooter was seen in his performance from the three point line.
The Hawks’ implemented a significantly different offensive system this season and it seems to have created challenges for their point guard. In prior seasons it was quite predictable where Schroder’s shots would come. That was not the case this season.
Last season he was elite in spot up opportunities. A large number of his shots in those situations last year came either in the left corner or just above the three point break. This season the Hawks moved the ball from the edges of the floor with much more frequency and his shots came when the activity dictated. As a result, he struggled significantly when he was doing anything but attacking the paint with dribble penetration. And his numbers reflect that.
His number of shot attempts at the rim reduced on a per minute basis but his ability to convert shots there improved from 56.4% last season to 57.8% this season.
Schroder did make some noteworthy progress in getting to the free throw line more frequently. But it was not enough to keep his overall efficiency from regressing.
The sample size of his perimeter shooting is big enough now that it would be unreasonable to expect a significant improvement from him in that phase of the game despite the fact that he is still 24 years old. It’s not unheard of, just not likely.
As such, he would probably need to be near or above the top 10 at his position in free throw rate as to have any hope of becoming an average offensive starting point guard in the league.
Improvement was seen in Schroder’s overall performance as a ball handler this season. He maintained his career mark in assists per 36 minutes while posting the lowest turnover rate of his career.
In terms of his best craft, it is probably what he can do as a dribbler. But he still usually demonstrates below average vision and execution as a passer, which may be the area of his performance that requires the most improvement if he is going to be entrusted with having the keys to the Hawks’ offense for the remainder of his contract.
Defensive Impact (on/off)
It was on the defensive end of the court where his performance improved the most statistically from the beginning of the season to now. But the bar was set extremely low. He measured at or near the bottom in ESPN’s defensive real plus-minus for the first couple of months of the season.
He still sits 496th out of 509 players per that metric. But his effort and discipline was noticeably in a different place across his last 20 games or so.
The role he would play on a strong playoff team in the future will depend heavily on whether he can improve his defensive play. If he can’t, his ceiling in that context might be as a strong back up point guard.
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