Down by two, the ball swings from Dennis around the perimeter, it finds its way back and he steps into a three pointer that ultimately seals the game. Another great outing for Dennis Schroder leading the Hawks past the Knicks adding 28 points (13-16 shooting).
Last year there was buzz throughout the season about who’s team it was and who should take the starting point guard position. Rout of veteran Teague or young up-and-coming German guard Dennis Schroder? Well the buzz became eventually became actual talk when Coach Budenholzer let Dennis finish games in the playoffs.
In a candid podcast interview on The Vertical podcast with Chris Mannix, Dennis stated he was “grateful to be in this position and that he knew his time would eventually come because of his work ethic”, also stating that “Jeff was a role model for me, he was a past Allstar, I learned a lot from him”. Dennis later stated he always put the team first even though he knew he could contribute more in games.
The trend we usually see in Most Improved Player winners is usually a boost in scoring, assists, fg%, etc at a great clip. I.e includes last years winner McCollum where his scoring average boosted from just (7 ppg to almost 21 ppg) mainly due to boost in playing time from bench minutes to starters minutes.
Schroder is at a career (10.1 ppg 4 apg 2 rpg), this year he’s boosted his average to (17.5 ppg 6.3 apg 3 rpg). There is a boost in every major stat including his weakest part of his game 3p% rising from 32% last year to 36% this year making the open shot and keeping the defense honest. Although the Hawks were having a abysmal last couple months from a impressive 9-2 start, the Hawks have turned the corner, (8-1) in the last 9 games. Dennis has made a case for most improved, and he should be considered if the Hawks continue to play well.
The future point guard has great potential if he continues to develop his playmaking skills, improve jumper and buckle down defensively. It has been hard to find consistency during his first year because there is an adjustment period, but Dennis has shined in notable games having (28 points and 6 assists) against the Cavs giving them their first loss, against Westbrook and thunder he tallied (31 and 8 assists), Raptors (26 points), Bucks (33 points) and led all hawks scoring with (24 points and 6 assists) in a close game against the warriors.
Letting go of former All-star Jeff Teague seems to be like a smarter option each month, and his 70 million contract extension seems to be the right move for the Atlanta Hawks.