The Atlanta Hawks made a big shift in their direction this offseason, putting Dennis Schroder in the starting point guard position for the first time in his career, after three successful years of being a backup. But it’s not exactly a guaranteed slam dunk.
While Schroder has done quite well in the limited minutes he’s been getting over the last two seasons (20 minutes a night through 157 games, 16 of them as starters), the Hawks know he’s a risk. Obviously, playing behind Jeff Teague isn’t the same thing as leading a playoff team on the floor, and Schroder’s impressive per minute numbers (19.5 points per 36 minutes last season) could take a hit, as well as efficiency in other areas. However, the Hawks believed in him enough to trade Teague to the Indiana Pacers, opening up the spot and minutes for Schroder.
This isn’t just a case of whether or not Schroder will make it with more minutes and eyes on him. He’s not exactly the most humble of guys, with some of an arrogant approach on and off the court, which has rubbed opponents and some teammates the wrong way in the past. He didn’t exactly wish Teague well as the All-Star point guard left the team, only tweeting about his coach believing in him, which suggests there wasn’t a whole lot of love between Teague and the German born player, who is celebrating his 23rd birthday today.
It’ll also be interesting to see how the Hawks approach his extension. They can give him a rookie extension before the October 31 deadline, or see him in his fourth season before he hits restricted free agency, and then signing him to a qualified offer (around $4.5 million probably) before they try to sign him on a long term deal, or have to match someone’s offer sheet. He’ll be making $2.7 million next season after already picking up $4.8 million in career salary.
The Hawks probably won’t have enough knowledge on whether or not Schroder is worth a big extension until they see him this season, which means the more likely scenario is waiting the season for restricted free agency. It’s also probably better for Schroder, obviously counting on himself to deliver in a way that will give him the leverage to ask for a maximum contract, not that the Hawks are huge fans of that. Signing as a free agent in 2017 will mean more money than the rookie extension in the next six weeks.