Yesterday, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the Sixers believed that Atlanta Hawks’ back-up point guard Dennis Schroder was worth a maximum salary contract. Not only did they believe it, but they desperately tried to pursue him before the NBA Deadline from the Hawks. In response, Pompey said that the team offered a package deal that included shooting guard Nik Stauskas, point guard Ish Smith, and a 2016 first-round pick to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for point guard Dennis Schroder, according to several league sources.
For any Sixers’ fan, the lack of a number one point guard has haunted this team since Sam Hinkie decided to trade away Jrue Holiday at the 2013 Draft. Ironically, that’s the same draft that Dennis Schroder was selected 17th overall by Atlanta. The Sixers actually drafted the player who many thought would be the point guard of the future in Michael Carter-Williams at 11th. A report later came out then that Hinkie was actually contemplating taking Schroder at 11, but ultimately took the Syracuse product, who was traded to the Bucks last year in a three-team deal with the Phoenix Suns. So, we know that Schroder has been a player Hinkie and the Sixers have wanted for a long time. But it also makes sense why they would be going after him this attentively again.
One of the bright spots of the Sixers this season has been the play of Ish Smith in his second go-around with the team. He has aided the offensive development of Nerlens Noel, who has also improved dramatically defensively since Smith was acquired. Not only that, but he’s truly made the Sixers a little more competitive. With that being said, though, he is more likely suited for a back-up point guard role in the NBA.
Schroder, on the other hand, is viewed by many teams, including the Sixers, as an up and coming player who deserves the opportunity to be a floor general somewhere. The German-born Schroder has been improving ever since he made his debut in October of 2013, and is experiencing a very solid season. The 6’1” point guard has played in 57 out of the Hawks’ 58 games this year, starting in six. In the course of his 21 minutes of playing time, he’s averaging 11.2 points and 4.7 assists per game.
A deeper look at Schroder’s stats and you’ll notice that he also brings something the Sixers have lacked in the last couple of years, the ability to shoot the ball. Schroder has shot 42.6% from the floor and 34.3% from three, compared to Smith’s 39.1% from the floor and 26.8% from three. Schroder is a better shooter than Ish Smith is. That is clear, but will he have the same effect on the Sixers as Ish Smith has?
For what it’s worth, Ish Smith has been a saving grace for the Sixers. With the abilities that Schroder possesses, he in all likelihood will carry this same type of effect. He is quick and is an excellent ball handler, which is a change of pace from what the Sixers have been primarily accustomed to. Schroder’s 6’7″ wingspan is very enticing for a guard to have to help pressure opposing guards. Although he is a bit of a wildcard by not being a full-time starter in his career, the potential is clearly there. When he was first drafted, Schroder’s game was relatable to a young Jrue Holiday, who was and still is a great player, and it’s apparent of him developing quite nicely.
Is it a risk? Absolutely, but the Sixers are in the position to be able to take risks like that. And, Dennis Schroder is definitely worth it.