Dennis Schroder is already a pick-and-roll master (VIDEO)


Nov 10, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Atlanta Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder (17) controls the ball against New York Knicks point guard

Shane Larkin

(0) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. The Hawks defeated the Knicks 91-85. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Dennis Schroder played 28 minutes and scored 14 points against the Knicks

Dennis Schroder has been a revelation.

This Oktoberfest was the first one where the German 21-year-old was actually old enough to enjoy a brew from his home country here in the U.S. And yet, even at such a young age, he is playing the pick and roll like a maestro.

Monday, Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer chose the second-year player to finish the game against the Knicks. Without a doubt, one of the primary reasons was Schroder’s ability to maximize the efficiency of his offense.

In a small sample, the season-long statistics support this trend. Schroder is one of the few point guards who has more points from drives to the hoop than he has drives. He is shooting 66.7% on his drives. And not just that, but more impressively, Schroder is just as adept at creating chances for his teammates as he has been at making them for himself. The video from the 4th quarter of the game in New York backs this claim.

Schroder was equally adept in making the plays that did not result in points as he was in the plays that saw the Hawks score. Here is a good case in point from the beginning of the 4th quarter. Late in the shot clock, Al Horford found himself in a bit of a pickle in the post. He had picked up his dribble and with Amar’e Stoudemire behind him and the defense closing in, Al needed a reset.

So Dennis moved to space, took in the pass, set up a quick hitting pick-and-roll and threaded a pass to Horford where only Al could reach it. The shot came up short, but the duo made the most of a short shot clock.

Moments later, the Hawks came up short again, but the shot Atlanta and Schroder created was a good one. Dennis eschewed a long contested two pointer in favor of resetting through Mike Scott. Then Schroder used a pick from Scott to tie up the defense and blur his way to the hoop.

The lefty layup fell off the rim — thanks in part to a good contest by Stoudemire — but softly floated layups that hit the glass squarely above the rim are always quality shots.

This play by Schroder is nearly identical, except that this time Pero Antic set the screen, and Schroder used the pick as a decoy before cutting back the other way to blow past Pablo Prigioni. Schroder made the two free throws he earned, as he did with all six of his fourth-quarter freebies.

Perhaps what is most striking about breaking down these clips is that Schroder is NOT, NOT, NOT afraid to reset. Instead of forcing the action like a typical young player, he’ll pass up a chance, get the ball back out to his big, and start the process all over again.

The Hawks run a pick-and-pop offense that routinely opens driving lanes for Dennis as well as jumpers for their bigs. But even when neither of those opportunites arose Monday, Schroder still put the ball in the right places. Here, he kicked the ball to an open Paul Millsap, who probably should have used the momentum of Carmelo Anthony‘s closeout against Melo. The play ended up being an airball, but through no fault of Schroder.

(Side note: Budenholzer has probably known for quite some time that Schroder could do these things. The playing time may finally be coming now because Dennis is also a capable defender who makes the correct rotations on defense. Aside from one mix up that left Carmelo Anthony open for a three-pointer, he was in the right places at the right times on D.)

Like a good baseball pitcher who develops a third pitch, if Schroder can routinely pull up at the free throw line for jump shots, there will be even more openings for drives to the hoop and passes out to shooters.

Finally, with a minute left in the game and a chance to ice the game, Schroder made the right pass — twice. Sandwiched around an offensive rebound and smartly dribbling out the shot clock, Dennis first passed through two defenders to a rolling Horford, then drove it to the rim himself where he used long reach to flip up a Rajon Rondo-like layup.

Speaking of Rondo, it will be interesting to see how defenses approach Schroder once he has played enough for other teams to properly scout him. I suspect what you will see is teams drawing back down into the paint and daring Dennis to beat them with his jump shot. Fortunately, the Hawks may have enough other shooting around Schroder to penalize opponents who try to do just that.