- Dennis Schroder has expressed his desire to start for the Lakers this season.
- The Lakers currently don’t have a traditional point guard in their lineup aside from Schroder.
- LeBron James was the Lakers’ starting point guard last season and he led the NBA in assists.
The Los Angeles Lakers may have a dilemma with one of their new pieces.
Dennis Schroder has publicly announced that he intends to start for the team this season. While that decision isn’t his to make, it could create trouble in paradise for the defending champions.
Dennis Schroder is looking to make an impact as a starter for the Lakers ? pic.twitter.com/8zGMsASc34
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 1, 2020
Schroder was a full-time starter during his last two seasons with the Hawks. But the team finished with a regular season record of 67-97 during that period. He was however, the key bench contributor to the Hawks’ 2014-15 team which won 60 games and was the runner-up to Montrezl Harrell in the Sixth Man of the Year voting last season.
Schroder has not talked to Lakers coach Frank Vogel about his desire. However, his representatives Alex Saratsis and Jeff Austin of Octagon said that they discussed this with the Lakers prior to the consummation of the trade that sent Danny Green and the 28th pick of the 2020 NBA Draft to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Schroder.
No Traditional Point Guard on the Roster
Dennis Schroder said he did the “off the bench stuff” for the last two years & believes he can be the starting point guard for the Lakers, per @RyanWardLA.
LA’s currently projected starters are LeBron James, Wes Matthews, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Anthony Davis, & Marc Gasol. pic.twitter.com/R0e1ADCAyh
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) November 30, 2020
Outside of Schroder, Los Angeles heads to training camp with no traditional point guard on their roster. Aside from LeBron, the known ball handlers on the team are Alex Caruso and Talen Horton-Tucker. The Lakers also signed Zavier Simpson to an Exhibit 10 contract. Simpson averaged 7.9 assists per game as a senior for the University of Michigan. However, it’s not even certain that Simpson makes the Lakers’ final lineup.
When you look at last season’s championship winning team, the Lakers had two traditional point guards in their lineup in Rajon Rondo and Quinn Cook. Rondo served as the Lakers’ chief playmaker when LeBron took his rest. Cook didn’t see much action, playing just an average of 11.5 minutes per game in 44 regular season games.
Schroder is Rondo’s body replacement while Caruso or Horton-Tucker will replace Cook, if at all. If we use last season as a model, Schroder will be LeBron James’ chief back-up this season. He will be the team’s playmaker when King James takes his rest during games or when he isn’t around at all. But this is not a given. The Lakers have yet to finalize their starting lineup.
Success With Point Guard LeBron
Lebron went to LA & basically said “Im going to turn into Magic Johnson”. He then changed his height listing to 6-9 (Which was Magic’s height, previously all his career Bron was listed as 6-8), played Point Guard, averaged 10 assist a game & led the league last season in Assist. pic.twitter.com/SZeQXHqdlo
— Pandji Pragiwaksono (@pandji) November 24, 2020
The Lakers starting unit with LeBron James playing point guard outscored opponents by 12.6 points per 100 possessions. The offense, in general, averaged 114 points per 100 possessions which is pretty strong by league standards. James led the NBA in assists last season and although they tinkered with their starting unit in the playoffs, the basics were still the same: defense plus three-point shooting with LeBron the playing point guard position.
Los Angeles lost some players in their rotation like Rajon Rondo, Danny Green, Avery Bradley and Javale McGee. But they’ve added Schroder, Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol, and Wesley Matthews. Gasol can provide the starting unit with the defense while Matthews gives it the outside shooting. Frank Vogel shouldn’t have any problems with his starting unit.
Although bench scoring wasn’t much of a problem for the Lakers last season, they ranked 13th in the league in that department with teams like the Clippers, Bucks, Warriors, and the Heat getting more scoring from their benches. Adding Harrell and Schroder to the Lakers bench would easily give them the best bench in the league, and perhaps one of the best benches ever. But that’s if Schroder comes off the bench.
LeBron James reportedly has wanted to play with Dennis Schroder for quite some time.https://t.co/5R9hwyzaPa pic.twitter.com/GCAZ2LMTqu
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) November 23, 2020
Shortly after the Lakers won the 2019-20 NBA title, LeBron James talked about “coasting” during the 2020-21 regular season. He will be turning 36 on December 30th and will be playing in his 18th NBA season. The Lakers are the betting favorites to win the 2021 NBA championship and he knows that they have a legit chance of repeating. He won’t “waste” his legs by pushing himself hard during the regular season.
James was one of the players who were against a December start to the 2020-21 regular season. But since that has been decided and we are going to see the shortest offseason in the history of the NBA, it won’t be a surprise if the Lakers use load management to preserve James for another run at the title. Should this be the case, then Schroder will most certainly get major minutes, and there is a good chance that he will start for the Lakers next season.
The Lakers have not yet announced their 2020-21 starting lineup. There is a possibility that Schroder will start, especially with the short break between the previous and upcoming season. But given the Lakers’ success with LBJ as their primary playmaker, it will be interesting to see how the Lakers’ manage this “good” problem.