Dennis Schröder had an up-and-down tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers. His first stint was filled with guarantees to start, mixed performances and a fizzling out in the 2021 playoffs against the Phoenix Suns.
The performance was so poor the Lakers cleaned house and went all-in on Russell Westbrook, which turned into a disaster.
For the 2022-23 season, Schröder returned to the purple and gold and had a better time in Los Angeles. Fans understood what he was, he embraced his role and when the season ended, it felt as though there were more good times than bad with Schröder.
He opted to leave in free agency and join the Toronto Raptors, so when they came to town Tuesday night, it was his first time playing against his former team this season.
Pregame was all smiles, with Schröder schmoozing with Lakers players, trainers and coaches. Everything seemed friendly and nice between him and the Lakers, but that all disappeared once the game started. He was constantly chirping between plays and talking smack during free throw attempts.
In one instance, while waiting to be subbed in by the scores table, the Raptors converted on a three and he stared down at Darvin Ham and LeBron James clapping loudly and smiling.
Dennis was a menace.
With the game close late, Anthony Davis was having a masterclass performance and had to go to the line to close out the Raptors.
With the pressure on, Davis didn't have the demons of missed free throws in the past on his mind, but he did have Schröder in his ear.
"I know what you're talking about, Davis told reporters postgame. "Boston last year. Philly. But, nah. (Dennis Schröder) was actually talking to me on the last two. Said 'The pressure's on now.' I wanted to make them on purpose with no rim. Didn't want to hit the rim. I feel very confident stepping up to the line any situation to make free throws to put the game away. Nothing went through my mind."
Davis embracing these moments is why he's not just a great number two behind James but becoming the best player on the Lakers, period. He can have fun with the opponents and still execute on the floor.
From Schröder's perspective, fans now know what it's like when an irritant like him is on the other side. The Lakers reaped the benefits of his antics during his tenure in L.A., like his 'freeze' celebration next to the Minnesota Timberwolves bench during last year's play-in game or his trolling Draymond Green after a turnover.
On Tuesday, he was doing the same to the Lakers, but luckily, they pulled out the win and the North took the L in Southern California.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.