Dennis Schroder made it clear he expected to be the starting point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers shortly after his trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
One of the biggest tasks for head coach Frank Vogel this preseason was finding the best way to utilize Schroder. He shined for the Thunder off the bench last season, finishing second in the Sixth Man of the Year voting.
Of course, LeBron James taking on the playmaking role worked wonders for L.A. last season. Schroder acknowledged the four-time NBA champion’s unique IQ and playmaking ability. And the 27-year-old said he joined the Lakers to complement James, not to take the ball away from his hands.
“I try to help him, try to get more Ws and just try to be helpful for him,” Schroder explained. “When he needs one and says, ‘Dennis, bring the ball up,’ I’m going to do it.”
Schroder revealed he had already spoken with James about sharing point guard duties, and emphasized he had played off the ball in the past, particularly when Paul George and Russell Westbrook ran the show for the Thunder in Oklahoma City.
“End of the day, if [James] is on the court, he’s going to handle it. I think me off the ball, I’m doing a pretty decent job of running, backdoor cuts, and whatever I need to do,” Schroder said. “Even last year with the three point guards in OKC, so I’m used to it. I just try to do whatever I can to get some Ws.”
James open to sharing ballhandling duties
James evolved as a player and established himself as the shot-creator in L.A., which turned out key to last season’s success.
But the 35-year-old said he was open to re-adjusting this season and could relinquish his role as the primary ballhandler following the arrival of quality playmakers such as Schroder and Marc Gasol.
“If the coaching staff or players come to me and say they need me to score more than I did last year, or try to assist more, or defend more, whatever it is, I just want to win,” James said.
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