Dennis Schroder returned to the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2022-23 season after spending 2021-22 splitting time between the Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics. Schroder was an instrumental piece of the 2020-21 team that was an Anthony Davis injury away from a potential deep postseason run.
And it wasn’t long before Schroder revealed himself to be a major factor in 2022-23 as well. After missing the first 13 games of the season due to an injury, he hit the ground running with eight double-digit scoring performances in his first 17 games. He averaged 26.7 minutes per game during those contests.
From Dec. 28 to the trade deadline, Schroder averaged 34.5 minutes per game and 14.7 points. He scored in double figures in 16 of that 23-game stretch.
By the postseason, Schroder had established himself as a main centerpiece in Darvin Ham’s system. He played in all 16 playoff games and averaged 26.1 minutes in that time. While his shooting splits took a dip, he was an important defensive figure against players like Ja Morant, Stephen Curry and Jamal Murray.
Schroder’s best outing of the 2022-23 season was actually a pair of games against the eventual Eastern Conference Champions, the Miami Heat, and the Sacramento Kings in early January. On Jan. 4 against the Heat, Schroder played 40 minutes and put up a season-high 32 points on 8-for-15 shooting with four steals.
On Jan. 7 against the Kings, he had 27 points on 8-for-11 shooting. This was right when he began establishing himself as a regular rotational piece, earning his spot in the rotation for the remainder of the season.
Those performances, both before the trade deadline, resulted in wins against two postseason teams. At the time, the Lakers were well below .500 and not considered a postseason threat.
As far as individual plays go, Schroder made two of the biggest of the season for the Lakers. On Jan. 20 against the Memphis Grizzlies, Schroder came up with a big steal late on Desmond Bane and then finished the game-winning layup. He then hit the potential game-winning 3-pointer in the Play-In Tournament against the Minnesota Timberwolves, although Davis committed a foul on the ensuing possession to send the game to overtime where L.A. would eventually go on to win.
Schroder enters the offseason as an unrestricted free agent that is likely due for a pay bump from the veteran minimum salary he made with the Lakers this season. The Lakers do not have bird rights on Schroder, meaning they can only pay him slightly above a minimum salary to keep him using his non-bird rights.
They can also give him their taxpayer mid-level exception or part of their non-taxpayer mid-level exception if they choose to open that up by clearing salary. The TMLE is valued at $5 million while the NTMLE is above $12 million. L.A. is most likely to only have access to the $5 million TMLE.
It remains to be seen if that is enough to keep Schroder around. But given his success in 2022-23 and close relationship with Darvin Ham, there’s reason to believe the Lakers may be motivated to make it work.
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