The Boston Celtics officially made their second signing of the offseason yesterday, dipping back into free agency to pick up veteran point guard Dennis Schroder, formerly of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Schroder was signed by Boston using some of their mid-level exception, as his deal will run for one year, costing $5.89 million.
It’s been quite a whirlwind past few months for Schroder. He turned down a four year, $84 million extension offer from the Lakers, believing he could fetch up to $120 million in free agency. It’s safe to say that decision backfired in quite spectacular fashion for Schroder, and he now finds himself playing on a prove it deal in Boston for the upcoming season.
For the Boston Celtics, they land a guy who was valued at over $20 million a year just a couple months ago for just $6 million now. The deal alone should be considered a victory. The problem is Schroder is among the riskier options Boston could have added in the guard market, and he may end up not being the right fit on this team.
Why Dennis Schroder is a riskier signing for the Boston Celtics
Schroder is an interesting player in the sense that he has looked to be capable of taking the next step in elevating his game at times, while also laboring through some quite horrible stretches as well. Schroder started every game he played for Los Angeles last season, but saw most of his shooting numbers decrease, and he just never really settled in with the team.
Schroder has always been a player who has relied on his explosiveness to help him score. The highest he shot from behind the arc in his career was 39 percent during the 2019-20 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but his percentage dropped back down to and ugly 34 last season with the Lakers.
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That explosiveness should come in handy for Boston this upcoming season. Schroder can be reckless at times, but he has a knack for getting to the rim and hitting some tough shots. He has spent most of his time being the primary ballhandler for his previous teams, so he could end up being Boston’s starting point guard this season.
Schroder’s playmaking ability has been quite inconsistent throughout his career. He averaged over six assists per game during his final two seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, before watching those totals drop to around four during his time in Oklahoma. Surrounded with more talent last season, Schroder brought his total back up to around six per game.
It’s clear that if Schroder is going to succeed in Boston next season, those assist totals are going to have to be near the six range rather than the four range. The Boston Celtics lacked a true playmaker last season, and while Schroder certainly isn’t that, he has the ability to step up and at least fill the primary playmaking role for the team if needed. The other options, Marcus Smart and Josh Richardson, don’t offer the playmaking upside Schroder does.
Along those lines, Schroder probably isn’t the best fit in Boston among point guards that were available this offseason. He’s more of a shoot first guard, which Boston certainly doesn’t need more of. He offers more scoring ability and playmaking ability than the other guards on this team, but there were certainly better fits on the market.
Schroder also has a bit of a reputation of being a hot-head around the league. He’s made some questionable comments to the media recently, and it seems like only yesterday he was trying to pick fights with just about every Celtic he could find during the Hawks-Celtics playoff series a few years back.
If things don’t go right for Schroder, how will he react? He has been said to be on board with the fact that he will have to earn his role on this team, and while he probably has an inside track to be a starter, what happens if he is initially brought off the bench?
Final Grade: B
Given Boston seems to be saving up to make a run at a big name next offseason, it makes sense that they weren’t willing to blow money on a guy like Kyle Lowry or Lonzo Ball. They got the cost efficient option in Schroder, but it’s not a signing that will move the needle on this team.
Schroder has the potential to come in and be a solid contributor for this team, but it’s only a one year deal. Schroder is known to be looking for more money, and if he performs this season, there’s no shot Boston will be able to retain him. Maybe he will get moved at the trade deadline, but this is another short term move for Boston in an offseason that has been full of them.
On the other hand, Boston hasn’t really invested much in Schroder, which makes this deal hard to not like. Sure, it puts them a bit over the salary cap this season, but they were always going to add another guard, and Schroder gives them that at a fraction of the cost other names on the market were going for. Schroder could be a good signing, but even if he isn’t Boston can back out of this deal and come away relatively unscathed.
All in all, Schroder’s signing is a relatively low risk deal that could result in a big payoff for the Boston Celtics. The player himself is a bit more risky, but he can come in and immediately fill a need for the C’s at a relatively cheap cost. It’s not going to make the Celtics title contenders, but adding Schroder could end being a great move for Boston if everything goes their way.