Atlanta Hawks: Can Dennis Schroder Win Sixth Man of the Year?


Atlanta Hawks reserve point guard Dennis Schroder is having a busy offseason. Earlier in the summer it was revealed that he would be featured on the cover of NBA 2K16 in Germany. He is currently with the German National Team getting ready for Eurobasket 2015.

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He last appeared during an August 21st game against Latvia. In that contest Schroder shined, scoring 22 points on 8-for-16 shooting. Since then Schroder has been held out of exhibitions due to an ankle injury, but all indications are that he will be ready by the time Eurobasket begins on September 5th.

This should be a pretty big year for Schroder. He has seen noticeable increases in productivity over his first two seasons, increasing minutes and scoring each year. In his rookie season Schroder played in only 49 games, averaging 3.7 points and 1.9 assists on 38.3 percent shooting in only 13.1 minutes per game.

Last season his minutes ascended to 19.7 per game, in that time he scored 10 points and dished out 4.1 assists per game on 42.7 percent from the field and 35.1 percent from three-point range. Schroder developed into a reliable scorer and creator off the bench, leading the second unit and finishing sixth on the Hawks in scoring. The most surprising improvement last season was his increase in accuracy from the three-point line.

When coming into the NBA, Schroder was dubbed the “German Rondo” due to his exceptional passing and his lackluster shooting. If last season’s success from outside remains consistent then Schroder’s ceiling jumps tremendously.

He will likely see another jump in minutes, given his recent history one would assume that more playing time leads to another increase in production. DeMarre Carroll will be replaced by Thabo Sefolosha in the starting lineup, but Carroll’s exit could be what leads to a larger role for Schroder. Sefolosha can be counted on to replace Carroll’s defense, but he’s not much of a threat on offense. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Schroder will be tasked with replacing Carroll’s scoring.

Atlanta could find creative ways to get him more minutes by featuring two point guard lineups more than they did last season (Teague and Schroder only shared the court for 189 minutes last season). Schroder would see more time next to Jeff Teague to give the Hawks an extra ball-handler on the perimeter.

This would give Teague a break from being the primary playmaker while keeping his defense and three-point shooting on the floor. Much like Teague, Schroder excels at getting into the paint and creating for others. His assist rate last season was 34.6 percent, nearly as high as Teague’s. With so much talent around him a boost in minutes per game should see Schroder’s assist total grow in addition to his scoring.

If that happens can Schroder be sixth man like Lou Will? Or in non-Drake terms, can Schroder win the Sixth Man of the Year award?

Over the last few seasons the award has become a bit of cliché. The same type of player seemingly wins every year. If you’re a high volume scorer or three-point shooter then you have a great shot at winning the award. This has become the award for the best “heat check” player in the NBA. The last six winners include Lou Williams, Jamal Crawford (twice), J.R. Smith, James Harden and Lamar Odom.

Schroder may not be an elite shooter, but he has the potential to be an above average scorer and playmaker. Can that combination give him a shot at winning the award? If he can average around 13 points and 5 assists per game with decent efficiency numbers that should at least put him in the running.

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  • He may not have the raw scoring totals of gunners like Williams, Smith or Crawford, so if one of them winds up with a 20 points per game type season then Schroder won’t stand a chance. I’m not sure why this award has turned into something that only rewards players who impact the game in a singular way, but that’s the reality of the situation.

    Whether or not Schroder actually has a chance of winning this award won’t matter to the Hawks or Hawks fans. As long has he stays on the same developmental path he has been on his first two seasons then the team will be satisfied.

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