Heading into the NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks knew there was a possibility they could strike out on Chris Paul in free agency and another team could steal restricted free agent Jeff Teague away with a large contract offer.
In order to avoid being put in a position where they would have to overpay to keep Teague, the Hawks found a contingency plan with the 17th overall pick by selecting 19-year-old point guard Dennis Schroeder from Germany.
As with most draft picks, Schroeder still has holes in his game he needs to fix. But as a quick ball-handler who can penetrate the lane, he has a bright future if he can mature and improve his decision-making, which often led to turnovers.
“Dennis is tenacious and athletic,” general manager Danny Ferry told the team website. “He’s a highly competitive, two-way player and I think he can have a really good future in the NBA with hard work, development and opportunity.”
While Schroeder has room to improve as an offensive player, his speed and athleticism are his biggest assets defensively. He earned the praise of ESPN’s Chad Ford, who called him “The German Rajon Rondo.”
“Defensively, we’ve been talking about how that’s our priority and that’s where it starts and I think Dennis is a good defender,” head coach Mike Budenholzer told the team website. “He does a lot of things. He can impact the game in a lot of different ways. We’re really excited about bringing in Dennis.”
Ferry never brought Schroeder in for a workout before the draft because he came away impressed by what he saw at the Nike Hoops Summit in Portland, Ore., two months ago.
“I think the Hoops Summit this year was a good example of playing at a high level in a very high level game,” Ferry told the Cherokee Tribune. “I think the Hoops Summit game was excellent opportunity to see what he was able to do.”
The Hawks have yet to reveal what their plans are for Schroeder, but it is worth noting he has the option of playing overseas. Last season, Schroeder averaged 11.9 points and 3.3 assists in 24.7 minutes and 31 games as a member of the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig in Germany’s top league, the Beko League.