Los Angeles Lakers guard Dennis Schroder has proven himself to be one of the most important pieces in their quest for a second straight championship.
While advanced metrics haven’t always shown it, the eye test proves that he brings intensity and energy to both ends of the floor on a nightly basis.
He has also spoken very highly of the Lakers organization in return, something that is a huge positive given ongoing contract negotiations before the end of the season. Everything about the addition of Schroder makes Rob Pelinka look even better for acquiring him while only giving up Danny Green and the 28th overall pick in the 2020 Draft.
When looking ahead to the second half of the regular season and the playoffs, Schroder acknowledged that the Lakers did a great job involving him and the other new players while also recognizing that improvements could be made defensively. “They did a great job from the first day,” Schroder said. “Wes [Matthews], me, Marc [Gasol], Zo. Everybody that came new. They did a great job of putting us in one group right away. First practice, first time we get to see each other. It was great chemistry.
“I think even in the games we just got to do a better job of individual pride on the defensive end sometimes. Even if somebody do a mistake. If it’s me, I’ve got to honor it and get better at it.”
While Schroder is pleased with where the Lakers are at, he knows there is another level they have to get to before the postseason.
“We’re doing a great job defensively, offensively. Playing with pace. I always say game by game, but this is still practice. I know them now for two months playing with them or whatever and we just try to get to our top notch when we get to the playoffs.
“We’re still working on it and I think everybody is willing to do it. It’s a process.”
While a lack of personal responsibility on defense sounds like it could be an issue, Schroder clearly states that the chemistry in the locker room has been great. This makes it easier for players to call each other and themselves out without it being a huge issue.
The second half of the regular season will be very important for the Lakers, as they need to keep pace at the top of a brutal Western Conference. If they can improve in the areas that Schroder is emphasizing, it could be even better for an already top-ranked defense.
Vogel proud of efforts in final game before All-Star break
Without LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol and Alex Caruso, the Lakers lost by just three to the Sacramento Kings in their final game before the break. While head coach Frank Vogel said the loss hurt, he was proud of the effort from guys like Schroder.
“Guys are hurt, they’re hurting,” he said. “They competed their tails off. They fought hard enough to get a win and the ball bounces on the rim three times, with the game on the line we have a couple putbacks that were there, just weren’t able to close it out.
“Our guys wanted to win this game very badly and they’re disappointed.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!