NBA Stories: Unsung Schröder performing under the radar at OKC

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers

It’s easy to see why many thought the Oklahoma City Thunder might not be able to compete this season with what seems like a ragtag group of players making up their roster.

They lost their only remaining All-Star in Paul George and have a collection of arguably good but not great talent. However, coach Billy Donovan has managed to get the team firing with the seemingly ageless Chris Paul leading the crew to some very good wins over more fancied opponents. 

One of the unsung heroes of the current group of players is Gambian-German guard Dennis Schröder who is having one of his best seasons ever in the NBA. Schröder is looking sharp and scoring well, he has put his hand up to be counted in the ranks of potential Sixth Men of the Year.

The Thunder have delivered some very impressive performances on their way into the playoff places in the Western Conference. This after they were written off early after they traded away George to the LA Clippers, getting young guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari in exchange. With an ageing Chris Paul heading into Oklahoma City it seemed the writing was on the wall for a tough and loss-heavy season.

But CP3 has been a revelation this term and he has also inspired the other guards to deliver consistently. In particular, Schröder who has been one of the standouts and he’s coming off the bench to make an impact. Schröder is having one of his best scoring seasons ever as he is currently averaging 18.2 points per game to go with 3.7 assists per contest. His best-ever scoring season before this was in the 2017-18 campaign when he was still in Atlanta with the Hawks where Schroder averaged 19.4 ppg and 6.2 apg.

The quick guard’s field goal percentage is sitting at a more than healthy 52 percent, he’s also dropping three-pointers at 35.2 percent as well. Schröder’s player efficiency rating is 15.3 and his true shooting percentage is sitting at 55.9 percent. These numbers are good enough for him to be starting for a lot of teams in the league, OKC are lucky to have that level of talent coming off the bench for them.

Since entering the NBA as a 20-year-old in 2013 Schröder has gotten better and better. As a raw talent straight out of Braunschweig in Germany he averaged only 3.7 ppg and 1.9 apg which saw him sent down to the D-League, but he improved as he learned what his coaches wanted from him and he saw how he could contribute positively while limiting the number of turnovers he had per game. 

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Clippers

This season the speedy Gambian-German has had stand out games against the Lakers, where he dropped 31 points, the Grizzlies where he scored 31 again and against the Clippers where he had 28 points. The only loss in those games came against the Lakers but he has definitely turned heads. Schröder has scored 20 or more points in 18 games this term already and has been a major factor in ensuring that the team rolls on when the starters take a rest.

Not many NBA fans outside of OKC would have kept an eye on Dennis “The Menace” but they should, as he has been an invaluable cog in a surprisingly well-drilled machine. Schröder is lifting his game and delivering the goods when they’ve been asked for. If he carries on this way, he will firmly cement his spot in the race for the Sixth Man of the Year award. Frankly, he deserves a lot more noise than he’s currently getting.

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