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Dennis Schroder report card: Solid assimilation into the Thunder

Dennis Schroder arrived in the offseason via the Carmelo Anthony trade and immediately became a Thunder asset. He played the fifth-most minutes on the team, took the third-most shots and scored the third-most points. Here’s how we grade Schroder’s maiden Thunder season:

Replacing Westbrook: B. Russell Westbrook missed nine games this season. Schroder was solid, but not special, in taking over as the starting point guard. In those nine games, Schroder shot worse than usual (.397 from the field; .324 from 3-point range) but scored more (17.8 points per game) and assisted more (6.2 per game). The Thunder went 5-4 without Westbrook, a schedule that included Cleveland, New York and Phoenix twice, but also Houston and Golden State.


Shooting: B. Schroder arrived with the reputation of a penetrator, and he very much was that. But Schroder was solid with his shot. He made 42.7 percent from mid-range, which is not great but helped a team that overall shot 38 percent from mid-rangeAnd Schroder made 34.1 percent of his 3-pointers, which is a little below league average but above his 32 percent established over five years in Atlanta.


Defense: C. Schroder is short and slight. He’s never going to be a great defender. And teams, especially later in the season, consistently singled him out, trying to bully their way to the basket. But Schroder generally played hard and generally was in the right spot. That’s always a good place to start. His defense was a liability, but it doesn’t have to be a big liability, and it mostly wasn’t.


Acclimating: A. Schroder fit in well. Schroder was good as the sixth man, as the backup point guard for the second unit, as an emergency starter, as an offensive alternative to Terrance Ferguson. The Thunder’s four most effective lineups all included Schroder. The Thunder’s best lineup was Schroder replacing Westbrook with the starting five; that unit played 142 minutes together and outscored opponents by 22.8 points per 100 possessions. The lineup of Schroder replacing Ferguson with the starters played 434 minutes and outscored foes by 8.4 points per 100 possessions, one of the better high-minute units in the NBA.


Second halves: B. Schroder became known as a second-half ace during a mid-season stretch in which he took over games with a flurry of points after halftime. And for the season, Schroder was a better second-half player, averaging 8.6 points and shooting .431 from the field in second halves, compared to 6.9 points and .398 shooting in first halves. But Schroder was rarely called on in crunch time. Schroder played 80 minutes this season when the score was within five points, either way, in the final five minutes of the game. Schroder took only 21 shots and just two foul shots during those times. He rarely was even the third option.


Playmaking: C. Schroder has been a solid NBA quarterback in the past. He averaged 6.3 and 6.2 assists per game his last two seasons with the Hawks. But with the Thunder, Schroder had a career low 5.0 assists per 36 minutes. He also had a career low 2.7 turnovers per 36 minutes, which suggests Schroder didn’t have the ball as much. Indeed, Schroder spent more than half his minutes with Westbrook on the court. But in Atlanta, Schroder spent many a minute alongside fellow point guard Jeff Teague. Schroder’s passing could be better utilized.

Related Photos
Oklahoma City's Dennis Schroder (17) smiles beside Damian Lillard (0) after a Portland foul during Game 3 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Friday, April 19, 2019. Oklahoma City won 120-108. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma City's Dennis Schroder (17) smiles beside Damian Lillard (0) after a Portland foul during Game 3 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Friday, April 19, 2019. Oklahoma City won...

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a96f1df06d24a8ab25768ee6b52aa6c1.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Dennis Schroder (17) smiles beside Damian Lillard (0) after a Portland foul during Game 3 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Friday, April 19, 2019. Oklahoma City won 120-108. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City's Dennis Schroder (17) smiles beside Damian Lillard (0) after a Portland foul during Game 3 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Friday, April 19, 2019. Oklahoma City won 120-108. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Dennis Schroder (17) smiles beside Damian Lillard (0) after a Portland foul during Game 3 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Friday, April 19, 2019. Oklahoma City won 120-108. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›

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