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Season Review: Dennis Schröder

For a minimum contract deal, Schröder’s production was more than the Lakers could ask for. His production on both ends of the floor — whether he delivered or not — was counted throughout the season

NBA: Playoffs-Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When Dennis Schröder decided to come back to Los Angeles last summer, he vowed to make up for his stint in 2021. This time, he didn’t demand to be the starting point guard of the team nor was he playing for a lucrative contract extension. Being one of the last few quality free agents in the market, all Schröder wanted was a second chance with the purple and gold.

Thanks to his stellar performance in the FIBA EuroBasket last summer, Schröder redeemed his value and eventually signed a minimum contract with the Lakers. The German native played a big role in helping the Lakers make it to the Western Conference finals. And while Los Angeles failed to achieve their goal of winning a championship, Schröder in particular redeemed his value around the league and got back into the good graces of the Lakers and the fanbase.

Now, the question that looms is whether or not Schröder will be part of the Lakers moving forward. His performance this season was enough proof that he deserves more than a minimum deal in this league. Now that he’s outplayed his contract, it’ll be interesting to see if the point guard will be part of the core that Rob Pelinka and co. are committed to running it back with.

How Was His Season?

As mentioned above, it was personally a successful season for Schröder. He averaged 12.5 points and 4.5 assists in 66 regular season games (third most by any Laker) this season. He didn't mind coming off the bench this time, but due to the Lakers’ injury woes this year, he was a starter for 50 games. Schröder averaged 30.1 minutes (fourth most by any Laker) and won multiple important games for them with his ability to come up big in the clutch.

For a minimum contract deal, Schröder’s production was more than the Lakers could ask for. He came up big for Los Angeles when they really needed it — to the point that even the Lakers’ social media team compiled a video of his clutch moments this season.

The Play-In tournament game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the ones versus the Miami Heat and Memphis Grizzlies in January, and the Oklahoma City Thunder game in April are just some of his most remarkable moments this season. Darvin Ham counted on Schröder a lot to close out games because of his perimeter defense, ability to score downhill, space the floor (he shot 32.9% albeit inconsistently), and for his grit, hustle, and toughness on the court.

In the Playoffs, Dennis averaged 7.4 points and was a huge part of the 8-man rotation. He had his moments, specifically when he contributed 19 points in a vital Game 1 win against the Golden State Warriors. He was tasked to guard Steph Curry and did a good job at that. He got into it with Draymond Green, was a starter by Game 6 against the Warriors, and ultimately replaced D’Angelo Russell in the starting five in the Denver Nuggets series.

In short, Schröder’s production on both ends of the floor — whether he delivered or not — was significantly counted on for the regular season, the Play-in tournament, and the Playoffs.

There were times this season when Dennis’ poor play would stand out on the court or when Ham would depend on him too much (especially when he decided to roll out his favorite three-guard lineups) but again, if we’re evaluating Schröder based on his contract value, then it’s suffice to say that he met the expectations set for him and as mentioned above, outplayed his contract this season.

Should the Lakers Bring Him Back?

If the Lakers are indeed deadset on prioritizing continuity (which they’ve leaked multiple times that they are), then yes, bringing Schröder back should definitely be considered. Although to be frank, it seems that the Lakers are prioritizing retaining Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura, so there’s a path for Schröder to walk away and earn a well-deserved promotion somewhere else.

It would be ideal for the German native to run it back again with the Lakers, for the mere fact that he has experience playing under Ham’s system and alongside Anthony Davis and LeBron James for two years now. Schröder’s not a bad option for a player coming off the bench, especially if he’s utilized the right way. His durability, defense and ability to provide at least 10 or more points every game are reasons to consider re-signing him for the right deal once again.

Do you think they will return?

This is where it gets a bit tricky. The Lakers are reportedly interested in keeping the point guard but the most they can offer Schröder in free agency is a projected $3.8 million contract unless they throw their midlevel exception on him. The taxpayer midlevel exception is projected to be about $5 million annually for a maximum of three years.

It’s also worth considering that not only are the Lakers prioritizing Reaves and Hachimura, but they’re reportedly set on chasing after Chris Paul — if the newly-traded point guard decides to depart from his current team. There’s a chance that Schroder’s point guard slot might just be taken away from him if Paul lands with the purple and gold.

On top of that, the Lakers also need to figure out what they want to do with D’Angelo Russell, who they reportedly want to re-sign to prevent an asset from walking away. Based on these reports alone, it’s clear that the Lakers have a lot to figure out in the point guard position — including whether or not they want to bring back Schröder.

Ultimately, it will depend on whether or not Schröder is willing to sign for less to stay in Los Angeles (assuming he gets offered more money by another team in free agency) — and if the Lakers want him enough, even if it means overfilling their guard depth once again.

You can follow Nicole on Twitter at @nicoleganglani

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