The Cleveland Cavaliers will have a top-six pick and the 19th pick in this upcoming draft. In the next few weeks here at Right Down Euclid, we will be profiling players the Cavaliers might draft in the first round on June 27. Today, we profile Dennis Schroeder.
Tale of the Tape
Name: Dennis Schroeder
German Pro Team: NY Phantoms Braunschweig
Weight: 180 lbs.
2012-2013 Per Game Stats: 11.9 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 3.3 APG, 0.9 SPG, 42.4 FG%, 40.2 3PT%, 83.8 FT%
Dennis Schroeder is a point guard from Germany who is quickly soaring up the draft charts. With his impressive physique and outside shooting tools, Schroeder should be a mid-round first-round pick in the upcoming draft. Since the Cavs need a backup point guard, and we haven’t really discussed the Cavs’ options here, let’s look at Schroeder’s skills and how he translates from Germany to the NBA.
Schroeder is an interesting physical specimen at point guard. He’s not of an imposing stature, standing at just 6’1” and weighing in at 164 lbs. at the draft combine, which is down from a playing weight of 180 in Germany. He’s a solid athlete for that weight, however, and definitely will be able to handle the rigors of playing in the NBA thanks to his athleticism. He’s explosive, but it isn’t in the conventional context that we usually describe explosion. Schroeder’s not going to get up and dunk on anyone. However, he’s one of the most explosive open-court players in the draft. Schroeder has a really nice first step and quick burst to the rim, routinely blowing by defenders on the perimeter to score at the rim. In fact, at the Nike Hoops Summit, which you can see video of above, he routinely torched opponents in the open court with his speed. He’s also one of the quickest draft prospects in general, and will be a great fit for any team who wants to play at a high pace. Finally there’s Schroeder’s length, which lends to him being an excellent defender. Schroeder measured a little over 6’7” for his wingspan, which gives him some excellent reach to be able to defend on or off the ball at the perimeter. Schroeder’s definitely a good athlete, with the physical tools to be able to overcome his small stature.
Looking at Schroeder’s offensive game, it’s important first to discuss his point guard skills because that’s certainly where he’ll be playing in the NBA. This is where some red flags are present. Schroeder is right-handed and somewhat lacks the ability to go left when driving. This is a bit of an issue because it makes him easier to defend. The larger issue I have with Schroeder is that he is not, by any means, a good shooter off the dribble. You want your point guards to be able to score off the bounce because it creates another dimension that Schroeder lacks. Schroeder is a good spot-up shooter with excellent form on set shots and step-backs. However, he lacks the ability to pull up off a drive or in transition, and that could be an issue at the next level. However, Schroeder did shoot really well from three last season and did take a ton of them (102 threes to 188 twos). He shouldn’t have a problem adjusting to the NBA three-point line. And, given his finishing abilities, that should mask the deficiencies in the mid-range game. Schroeder’s also great at running an offense, delivering crisp passes and has a good handle. He had a fairly bad assist-to-turnover ratio in Germany (3.3-2.9), but his 3.7 turnovers per 36 minutes were on par with Rajon Rondo, Ricky Rubio and Will Bynum this season. Also, playing at the lower level of the Bundesliga, my theory is that Schroeder suffered from what Tom Ziller calls “Tyreke Evans Assists,” which is when a point guard delivers a perfect pass to a wide-open teammate who misses the shot, ruining the assist. I think Schroeder’s paltry assist numbers (4.7 per 36) are partly due to that, and partly because Schroeder was able to take over games by getting to the rim. Schroeder also is a fantastic free throw shooter, posting a mark of 83.8 percent from the line, which will help him be reliable as an offensive player when he does get to the rack. The bottom line is that while you might not want Schroeder running a pick-n-roll or taking mid-range jumpers, he can get to any spot on the floor at any time, can get past any player to the rim and will be a great catch-and-shoot guy as well.
Schroeder is a solid defender thanks to his length and quickness. He can stay in front of guys with no problem thanks to his good lateral speed and long arms, and he’ll easily be able to disrupt passing lanes due to his long arms and freakishly gigantic hands. Schroeder’s hands are 10.5 inches long, which is bigger than the hands of Gorgui Dieng or Rudy Gobert. That’s insane. Schroeder is also good at understanding spacing and rotations and will be excellent at pestering point guards on the ball and disrupting open shooters. He’s not strong enough to handle getting pushed around, so if he gets posted up by a bigger guard, he’s finished. However, Schroeder will be able to cover so much ground up top, and be so disruptive on the perimeter, that he’ll be a positive on the defensive end right away.
Schroeder’s vast improvement over the course of the season in the Bundesliga, and his outstanding performance at the Nike Hoop Summit, are very good indicators of his intangibles. Schroeder wants to get better, and at age 19 with so much room to improve, that’s a very, very positive sign for his future. Schroeder also has shown that he can take over a game, overpowering weaker guards in the German league late to make baskets when it counts. We also know that Schroeder can be relied on to carry a team because he was definitively his team’s best player; his best NY Phantoms teammate was former Arizona State Sun Devil Eric Boateng, and he took over the Nike Hoops Summit game. Schroeder is also only 19, which will mean that he has plenty of time to improve his point guard skills, strength and shooting ability. Schroeder seems to have the makings to be a great NBA point guard, and should be able to be one someday.
Mike Conley is a great comparison for what Schroeder should eventually become. Coming out of school, Conley was much of the same mold of Schroeder; a small, quick guard with long arms who was solid defensively and could get to the rim at will. Conley had the same struggles with his mid-range shot that Schroeder has shown but has gotten much better at hitting shots in the mid-range. Conley took 73 deep twos his rookie season and hit 37 percent of them. That number has improved to 41 percent on 150 shots this year. Conley also got a lot better at managing an NBA offense from his time at Ohio State, and his assist numbers have continued to increase, something that should be promising for Schroeder because of his low assist numbers in Germany. I think Conley’s trajectory is going to be what we see from Schroeder. He’s going to be the Mike Conley/Eric Bledsoe/Jrue Holiday point guard of this draft, meaning it might take him a couple years to get it together and learn how to play the point in the NBA, but when he does, he’s going to be insanely good.
How Does He Fit on the Cavaliers?
Ideally, if the Cavs grab Schroeder, he’s going to be doing what Eric Bledsoe has done the past few years behind Chris Paul. Schroeder complements Kyrie Irving quite well, and would be an excellent backup for him. Schroeder would be the defensive point guard the Cavs need to go along with Kyrie, who is a defensive minus. Schroeder should also be able to get better in PNR situations while learning from a master at that offensive set. The nice thing is that, while you’d be giving up height, the Cavs could certainly play Irving and Schroeder together. Thanks to Schroeder’s catch-and-shoot abilities, I’d be comfortable with Schroeder playing off the ball in the Cavs offense as well. Height concerns would be present, but both guys are quick enough, and Schroeder’s long enough that I think it wouldn’t be a huge issue defensively to play them together. My one issue I would have is that I think Schroeder is better suited for a fast-paced team like Milwaukee or Dallas than what should be a slower Mike Brown-coached Cleveland team. I also believe that that is the range where Schroeder will be going, as Dallas, Utah and Milwaukee all have point guard needs and pick right before the Cavaliers. If Schroeder somehow slips past those three teams, however, I think Schroeder is definitely a player the Cavs need to consider because he’s the last of the point guards I’d feel comfortable taking in the first round of this draft.