The Atlanta Hawks went into the start of the 2013-14 NBA season with the intention of giving rookie point guard Dennis Schroeder ample opportunities to prove himself as he played in a reserve role behind starter Jeff Teague. However, Schroeder did very little in the beginning of the season to reward that showing of faith.
Through the first eight games of his young career, the 20-year-old struggle has already experienced his share of hardships. In 14.5 minutes per game, he’s averaging only 3.8 points, 2.8 assists and 1.4 rebounds per game while shooting just 33.3 percent from the floor, 14.3 percent from long-range and only hitting on three of his six attempts from the charity stripe.
In Summer League, Schroeder showed that he had some offensive limitations and many figured that he would struggle on that end of the floor. However, many people also believed that his ability as a defender would still make him valuable off of the bench in Atlanta. Through the start of his foray into the NBA, though, he’s struggled on both ends of the floor and his offensive deficiencies have outweighed anything he brings defensively.
As a result of his troubles to start the season, new Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer has elected to bring Shelvin Mack off of the bench as the second point guard instead of Schroeder. Mack initially had a big game this past Saturday as he notched 12 points and 12 assists in 24 minutes off of the bench against the New York Knicks and he continued to look solid on Tuesday night in losing effort against the Miami Heat.
In 25 minutes, compared to Schroeder’s five, against Miami, Mack put up seven points and two assists on 3-7 shooting and notched one of the few positive plus/minus ratings on the team at +2. No one was really stellar for the Hawks as the Heat’s defense created a lot of turnovers, but Mack continued to look solid off of the bench.
As Schroeder is still developing, I like the move by Budenholzer to roll with Mack. Mack was impressive in limited time last season and has shown flashes of being a solid second guard in this league. For a Hawks team still trying to find its way into realizing their potential early in the season, putting a surer thing like Mack in the rotation over a developing talent in Schroeder seems like the right call. I still believe Schroeder will have value this season and beyond for Atlanta, but at the present moment, Budenholzer is right in giving Mack minutes behind Teague.