With LeBron James sidelined, no one has had to assume more of an offensive role for the Los Angeles Lakers than Dennis Schroder.
Schroder came to the Lakers as a secondary playmaker who would look to score when given the chance, but with James out, he has had to take on more of a floor general role. The point guard predictably struggled with more offensive responsibility, turning the ball over and not organizing the offense very well.
However, since Schroder took more ownership of his turnover issues, he has really come into his own. After their win against Orlando Magic on Monday night, head coach Frank Vogel highlighted his guard’s improved play.
“He’s really growing, in particular with his floor general mentality and running the team,” Vogel said. “Ten assists, two turnovers, 21 points, seemed in control and comfortable in the pick-and-roll game and getting everybody involved. And obviously he’s an elite defender too so great performance by Dennis tonight.”
Vogel also acknowledged that Schroder’s growth in this area is a rare bright spot with James not available. “That’s why we feel like it’s gonna be a silver lining” explained Vogel. “I do feel like it was accelerated, not that Dennis hadn’t done it in the past, but he hadn’t done it with this group, this system, this coaching staff, this set of teammates.
“And having Bron out, there’s a lot of silver linings and that’s definitely one of them to see him grow and obviously when Bron takes the reigns back, you’re gonna have Dennis as an attacking scorer and comfortable in that situation as well. And then when Bron goes to the bench and Dennis is back in the comfort zone of the way he’s grown the last whatever month to six weeks, whatever it’s been. So definitely a positive and hopefully when it all comes together, it’s gonna come together at this right time.”
Having Schroder as an improved playmaker only bodes well for the Lakers’ offense, especially once James returns. Having someone who can set the table for the rest of the team while also being able to score is invaluable, and Schroder could be a major piece when Los Angeles mounts its title defense.
Davis details what’s expected of Schroder when James returns
Although James will control the offense when he is back, Anthony Davis emphasized that the Lakers will still need Schroder to continue what he is doing. “We need him to be the same Dennis,” Davis said. “He’s making the right reads, he’s making great plays. He’s finishing, shooting the ball. We need him to do the same thing.
“We don’t want him to kind of fall back when Bron comes back, even though Bron does handle the ball a lot, but we still want him to push the pace and get in the paint. Attacking finding seams, finding guys for open shots. Making those right passes and those right plays, and that’s what we’re going to need from him in order to win a championship.”
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