Last season, Dennis Schröder provided the Oklahoma City Thunder with instant offense off of the bench, averaging 18.9 points per game on 46.9% shooting from the field and 38.5% from behind the arc, the latter of which was a career-high for the 27-year-old point guard.
Schröder’s contributions off of the bench earned him the second-most votes for the Sixth Man of the Year Award behind his new Lakers teammate Montrezl Harrell. While Harrell will likely be gunning for another Sixth Man of the Year Award, Schröder has no intention of coming off of the bench in Los Angeles.
“I did this off the bench stuff already for two years with OKC,” Schröder said during his introductory press conference on Monday. “I think I will try to move forward, and I think with AD and LeBron, I can be helpful as a starter at the PG position so that LeBron don’t have so much stuff in his mind.
“I can bring it up, call a set play or whatever, and put him in a position to score. I think, for him to play off the ball, it’s great, and I think it’s the reason why they brought me in. I think we’re going to fit perfectly.”
Schröder hasn’t spoken directly to Lakers head coach Frank Vogel about what his role will with the team will be, but he said that his agent outlined his expectations before the trade was completed earlier this month.
“So that’s that,” Schröder said.
There’s no denying that Schröder is talented enough to be a starter, even on a Western Conference powerhouse like the Lakers. However, it is a little off-putting that Schröder is coming to the defending NBA champions with demands, especially when the Lakers prided themselves on making sacrifices for the betterment of the team last season.
Anyone that’s followed Schröder’s career knows that he’s a confident young man — it’s why he bumped heads with Jeff Teague in Atlanta. But the moment that confidence turns into entitlement, it becomes a problem for the locker room, and the Lakers were lucky enough to avoid that during their champion run. Team chemistry might not be everything, but as we saw last season, it counts for a lot. Hopefully everyone can get on and stay on the same page again this season.
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