Sam Presti is at it again. He continues pulling off moves that make you scratch your head thinking, “How did he come up with that?”
He’s made small improvements, from giving Steven Adams a viable backup in Nerlens Noel to shifting out an unused Dakari Johnson ultimately for Abdel Nader, who could end up on the roster this year.
But his biggest move came exactly one week ago today.
I was out at Longhorn Steakhouse with Kaytlyn. All I’m thinking about is the juicy, and expensive, filet coming my way in minutes. Then my phone buzzes. I read the notification. My arms levitated to the sky as if a 50-pound boulder was just lifted off my shoulders. Melo is gone.
Not only was he gone, there was a return for him. After it seemed like there were no suitors willing to take him, it looked like Presti was going to have to take saving more money over getting a positive return. Doubting Sam Presti, that was a cute idea.
Mike Muscala, who soon became TLC, and Dennis Schroder. Schroder’s an interesting case. The guy who was, without a doubt, the leader of the Hawks this past season. He’s going to come to OKC to be a…backup? A sixth man? How was that going to work?
It’ll work, and it’ll be a lot of fun to watch. What’s there to like and dislike about Dennis Schroder? Here I break down three pros and cons of OKC’s new sixth man.
Con: Ball dominance
Schroder had some trouble in Atlanta with sharing the ball. Some people would call him (we’ve heard this word before) selfish. As Atlanta’s leader, he averaged 17.1 shots per game last season, the next highest total was 11.9.
He will have to adjust to sharing the ball more, which will be much easier with better players surrounding him.
It wouldn’t surprise you that someone who is ball dominant has a higher turnover rate, but Schroder’s is really bad. He averaged 2.7 turnovers per game last season and 3.3 the year before that.
For a team in OKC that struggled on occasion last year with really sloppy plays, they can’t afford to make dumb turnovers. Again, having a better team around him should help get the ball in the hands of guys who can handle the ball well.
Con: Three point shooting
I’m going to be very blunt when I say this, Schroder is a horrible three point shooter. He shot 29% from long distance last season, although he only attempts 2.8 per game throughout his career.
He is good at the pick and roll, which he should place emphasis on in games. You can work the ball around with PG, work it about anywhere with Russ, or toss it in the paint for Steven Adams, there are plenty of options. None of those options include Dennis Schroder shooting threes.
Pro: Free throws
OKC was horrible from the free throw line last year. I think there was a lot of losses that could’ve been wins if they just hit their free throws. Schroder will be a good addition in this department.
He shot 84.9% from the free throw stripe last season, near the Top 25 in the NBA. With his eagerness to drive in the paint, there should be ample opportunities to put him on the line. One of the most underrated aspects of the game has an improvement.
I threw this one in there just to see if anybody would have to do a double take. While he does struggle when it comes to handling the ball, he does a stellar job at taking the ball away.
He averaged 1.1 steals per game last season, which isn’t terrific but sits him just outside the Top 20 among point guards. It should also be noted that forcing turnovers was a major strength for OKC last year, leading the league with 15.1 opponent turnovers per game.
Adding another dynamic to that puts even more stress on opposing teams, especially when this dynamic is on the second team.
Pro: Youth and improvement
Schroder entered the league five years ago, became a steady starter for the Hawks two years ago, and he’s only 24. Not only is his youth a positive, youth in general is a positive in the NBA, he’s consistently getting better.
In his second year as a starter, his points per game went up by 1.5, assists and rebounds stayed steady, improved steals per game by 0.2, and brought his turnovers per game down 0.6.
Of course, you shouldn’t expect the same kind of numbers as a sixth man, but seeing someone trending upwards is always better than the latter. At 24, he’s still got plenty of career ahead of him.
Sam Presti nailed this one. He added a good player that legitimizes the second unit and, most importantly, got rid of Melo while doing so. If he would just jump the gun on firing Billy Donovan, Sam Presti would be a perfect GM.
Bleacher Report released a feature of what they’re calling the “Power 50”. It’s basically coverage over 50 different athletes, teams, powerful individuals, etc. who have made a positive impact in the world.
Russell Westbrook was one of the these 50 people. I encourage you to give it a read, it’s not very long. It gives you some words on how he overcomes odds, haters, naysayers, and gave a new dynamic to NBA fashion.
I also encourage you to read as many of the features as you can, Bleacher Report really did a great job with them. I’ve read over half of them and plan to have them all read soon.
Thanks for reading! Have a good Thursday.