Did we all miss Dennis Schroder’s breakout moment?

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28: Dennis Schroder
ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28: Dennis Schroder /

NBA media is set up nowadays to where there are so many outlets that can only discuss a limited number of teams and stories that it leads to some unfortunate side effects.

These being that it’s become inevitable writers will start searching for stories that tend to rear on the side of ridiculous during this time of year just to have something to put out.

Examples of this are, “Fans freak out because Lebron calls LA home” (He was referring to his literal house in LA), Steph Curry and any video that involves him beating 5’5 men on a Chinese gameshow, and Kawhi Leonard complaining that his battery packs were better when Radio Shack was still around.

OK that last one isn’t real but you get my point! It’s also such a dull time that it can lead even solid writers to form opinions about players that sound legitimate but really just come from a hyper focused perspective that we’ll all step back from come October. One player who I think has been hurt by this is Dennis Schroder.

Dennis’ is the story I’ve been waiting on but haven’t yet seen. There’s been criticisms and opinions of his game aplenty but not the story that should be most apparent. Once it became clear which direction the Hawks were moving in Dennis obtained the always sought after “Golden Patch of the Franchise” moniker.

Dennis Schroder
WASHINGTON, DC –  APRIL 19: Dennis Schroder /

You might think that’s a good thing for him but it seems to have lead to people criticizing his game in a way in which we weren’t this time last year. Before, he was always the mid-first round prospect from Germany that fans and writers alike seemed excited about seeing what he can grow into. Now that we’ve had time to watch his first full year as a starter what is he?

No, he’s not a franchise superstar and probably can’t lead you to a championship being the best player on the team but no one has ever accused him of that before. He just happens to be the best player on this current Hawks team, not the one they’re building towards in the future.

Even so, his potential is greater than what some are currently saying it is. I believe this because of one reason, the playoff series this past April against the Washington Wizards.

Yes, the Hawks lost in 6, there was controversy over Dwight’s minutes in the 4th quarter, Paul Millsap had most likely played his last game in a Hawks uniform, Atlanta had another first round exit, HOLY CRAP HOW DO WE STOP JOHN WALL, and a bevy of other story lines that buried a specific one that should’ve been talked about more than the few whispers it received. Did Dennis Schroder just have his breakout moment?

Dennis Schroder
ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 24: Dennis Schroder /

It’s still confounding how Dennis Schroder hasn’t received more credit for the way he played in that series against a guy who just received a supermax contract because he was so dominant. Let’s take a look at the numbers: 24.7 Pts and 7.7 Asts on 46% shooting from the field, 43% FROM THREE, and 84% from the line.

Dennis Schroder has always been an inconsistent player which I think has lead to fans and pundits shying away from reading too much into those numbers but they should be looked at more.

He helped the Hawks to their first win in the series with a 27 point and 9 assist performance that really showed how much he wanted to shine in these playoffs. Atlanta essentially had that game won after the end of the first quarter thanks to an 18 point lead built up by a 15 point Schroder quarter.

Dennis’ worst game statistically by far was game 4, entering the 4th quarter with only 8 points and 1 assist, and yet when the Hawks needed him most he stepped up and scored 10 of the teams final 11 points to seal the game and send the series back to Washington tied at 2.

He followed that up with arguably his best game putting up 29 points on 5 of 6 shooting from 3 and tallied 11 assists to go along with it. This all while guarding one of the best players in the league in John Wall. The Hawks lost but that wasn’t on Dennis Schroder as he hit a 3 with about a minute to got that cut the Wizards lead to 2 until Wall finished the game with a clutch jumper on the next possession.

Listen to the way Greg Anthony talked about him in the video above!  “Seeing a star develop right before our eyes” were the specific words he used and yet it seems like we never heard anything else about it once the second round started. John Wall was better in the series there’s no doubt. He finished the clinching game with a 42 point performance the Hawks couldn’t combat despite Schroder going for another double-double with 26 and 10. But that shouldn’t overshadow a guy who may have just played the best basketball of his career.

Dennis has now proved the kind of level he’s capable of playing at but it’s clear he enjoys playing in the big moments and attempting to live up to them. The irony behind that is there may be less moments of that caliber for him this season than ever before. Whether you realized it or not we just witnessed Schroder’s breakout on the big stage. The rest of his career and legacy may be defined by what happens on the small one.