In a surprising turn of events, point guard Dennis Schröder, initially signed by the Los Angeles Lakers on a veteran’s minimum last summer, proved to be a significant asset to the team beyond expectations during the 2023 season. As he joined the Toronto Raptors after declining to re-sign with the Lakers, sports analyst Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report expresses the belief that Schröder’s impact is likely to remain noteworthy in his new role.
Last summer, few could have predicted the impact that Dennis Schröder, donning the Purple and Gold jersey, would have on the Lakers. However, his contributions went above and beyond, surprising both fans and critics alike. Although he did not choose to continue with the Lakers in the subsequent season, his move to the Toronto Raptors promises to be a substantial change that could influence the team’s performance.
The Lakers underwent strategic shifts in their starting backcourt, with deadline acquisitions of Malik Beasley and D’Angelo Russell replacing Patrick Beverley and Russell Westbrook. Amidst these changes, both Dennis Schröder and Lonnie Walker IV found themselves on the outskirts of Darvin Ham’s rotation plans. This alteration, while initially appearing disadvantageous, ultimately presented an unforeseen opportunity for Schröder to shine when the spotlight was on him.
The postseason became the platform for Dennis Schröder to truly display his talents, especially his remarkable defensive skills. He showcased his prowess by locking horns with standout players such as Steph Curry and Ja Morant during the Lakers’ series victories. His contributions not only aided his team’s success but also highlighted his own capabilities, thus adding a new layer to his basketball journey.
Dennis Schröder simply can’t claim the same as a soon-to-be 30-year-old on his fourth team in three seasons. But the veteran does have a track record of solid—and sometimes better—production in this league. He’s also set to walk into the starting gig vacated by Fred VanVleet and, given Toronto’s lack of point guards, perhaps put his minutes average well into the 30s. Schröder is most interesting when his perimeter shots are falling—he hit 38.5 percent from range while averaging 18.9 points in 2019-20—but he has found ways of contributing as a modern guard with a shaky outside shot. He takes care of the basketball, pressures opponents off the dribble and really digs in defensively.
As the narrative shifts northward, the Toronto Raptors now hold the aspirations of harnessing Schröder’s tenacious energy and dual-sided excellence. This transition comes as the Raptors face the departure of Fred VanVleet due to free agency. The hopes are high that Schröder’s prowess, particularly in the realm of defense, will be mirrored within the Raptors’ gameplay, potentially filling the void left by VanVleet’s absence.
In summary, Dennis Schröder’s unexpected journey from a standout player in the Lakers’ lineup to a hopeful asset for the Toronto Raptors underscores his defensive talents and adaptability. The German guard’s transition carries the potential to shape the Raptors’ trajectory in the upcoming season, as they aim to transform his skills into a winning formula.