While Atlanta Hawks rookie Dennis Schroeder was the fourth point guard selected in this year’s draft, he may have the most upside. Nineteen-year old Schroeder played professionally in his native Germany with Braunschweig before entering the NBA draft. Draft scouts have often compared him to the Boston Celtics‘ Rajon Rondo, for their great defensive pressure and ability to pass the ball but no jump shot. I believe a better comparison would be to Minnesota Timberwolves‘ Ricky Rubio, another point guard with great court vision and defense but a slight frame.
During the Summer League games, Schroeder never looked rattled if his shot is off or a teammate botches a great pass. Schroeder is six feet, one inch tall and has a massive wingspan of 6-foot-7. His great wingspan enables him to pick opponent’s pockets with ease. He taps the player slightly as he makes the steal. In the game against the Miami Heat, he had four steals, eight assists, nine points on 4-12 shooting and four rebounds.
Schroeder’s other strength is his court vision. He ranked second in pass outs from the pick-and-roll situation. He only had the Summer League to be familiar with fellow rookies Lucas Nogueira and Mike Muscala, yet his passing showed how well their chemistry was. He would deliver crisp passes or lobs to Nogueira on the roll or kick out to Muscala for an open jump shot. Oftentimes, a point guard would deliver the pass immediately to the roll man. In the game against the Los Angeles Clippers, on one possession, Schroeder waited for teammate Mike Scott to be by the basket after he set a pick before delivering the pass for an easy layup.
During the draft combine, Schroeder shot 40% from three-point range, which shows that his outside shooting has improved and is not as terrible as Rondo’s.
Schroeder’s biggest weaknesses are a reluctance to shoot the ball when open and his small frame. He is a natural point guard and his body language shows that he prefers to set up his teammates rather than score himself. Secondly, he needs to get stronger. His shots at the rim are swatted easily and he rarely gets to the foul line. With a stronger frame, he can absorb the contact and still make an attempt at the basket. Jeff Teague may be the starting point guard, but Schroeder has all the tools to make his presence known should he have the minutes to demonstrate how ready he is.