Terrific 10: Ten things Dennis Schröder has improved on or added to his game
Dennis Schröder was coming off one of the biggest disappointments in his career after Germany failed to advance to the Second Round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. But Schröder put behind him the poor showing in China and has stepped up his game for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Here are ten things the 26-year-old seventh year pro has either improved upon or added to his game in his second season with at OKC.
1. Buckle up
Schröder always tried to beat his opponents with speed in the past – not a bad idea considering he is one of the fastest players in the NBA with the dribble. But he has learned to use his body to shield his defender from the ball – or buckle up – allowing Schröder to finish with a layup or feed the center with an alley-oop.
2. Mid-range monster
Chris Paul has been a great influence on Schröder in many ways, including the use of the mid-range game. Learning from one of the masters, Schröder has connected on 51 percent of his mid-range attempts, putting him in the top 10 percent in the NBA and making it a weapon for the Thunder. Coach Billy Donovan has even drawn up set in-bounds plays to get Schröder mid-range shots.
3. Hand if off
Another instance of Schröder learning from Paul and his veteran tricks: The two guards play a nice hand-off set as Schröder passes sharply to Paul, who hands it off to Schröder with the center coming over for the pick at the same time. The Thunder can then attack in various ways off this.
4. Lays it up, lays it in
Schröder had problems absorbing contact from the side early on in his career and while they are not entirely gone, he has gotten much better. And he is attempting 3.4 free throws a game this season, the season highest in his career.
5. Turbo on
Schröder possesses an outstanding top speed though sometimes it seems he doesn’t want to use it. But over the past two seasons he has scored more and more fast-break points.
6. Shooting the lights out
For the first time in his career, Schröder can be considered a combo guard – in other words, a player who can play at the point and the shooting guard. He has been lights out from long range – hitting 51 percent of his open three-pointers and a jaw-dropping 43 percent of his guarded three-pointers.
7. Switch attack
To keep Schröder from taking his mid-range shots, centers often switch onto him in pick-and-rolls. He has learned to pass to a teammate and then get the ball right back and then attack the center to the basket or take the three.
8. Cut and fill
Baskets off cuts have not been a thing for Schröder, but he has learned that moving without the ball can also get some easy buckets, having picked up 15 baskets in 55 games this season.
9. Defense, defense, defense
Schröder’s defense this season has been better than ever. Whether it’s on the ball or a quick steal attempt or a clever anticipation of the help-side, Schröder is in the upper quarter of the NBA in various defensive metrics.
10. CP3, SGA and DS17
The OKC Thunder have been scoring 127 points in 100 possessions with their three guards Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schröder on the court at the same time. Coach Donovan deserves some real praise (and certainly more than a few Coach of the Year votes) for even coming up with the idea. And OKC are only giving up 98 points at the other end. This grouping could be a new lethal lineup.
by FIVE Magazine #167 – Dennis Schröder – Text: Jens Leutenecker