It’s reductive to make the link between the Lakers winning again and Dennis Schroder returning. It isn’t that straight forward, of course, but it’s representative of Schroder’s importance to this team.
The Lakers offense is devoid of ball handling in Schroder’s absence. Without his shot creation, LeBron James is required to do everything on every possession.
A lot has been made of the Lakers’ poor perimeter shooting. That’s fair – they were awful from deep in February. It’s the shot creation that really saw the offense grind to a halt without Schroder, however.
Of line-ups to play over 100 possessions, the two best Lakers groups feature Schroder. Their offensive rating is over eight points better with Schroder on the floor. Much has been made of his defensive tenacity since the offseason trade, but his value is still primarily on the offensive end. On this Lakers roster, that value is enormous. Beyond James, the ball handling is alarmingly limited.
Dennis Schroder’s impact
The team turnover rate drops with Schroder on the floor. Line-ups with Schroder get to the rim and make a better percentage at the basket. Part of this is his own off-the-bounce shot creation, but it is also the space he creates as a driver for others to attack.
The former Hawk has missed four games this season through health and safety protocols. They featured tough matchups with Utah and Milwaukee, but it isn’t just a coincidence that the Lakers lost all four. The Lakers have beaten Portland and Golden State since his return.
Dennis Schroder hasn’t lit up the box score in those two Ws. What he has done, though, is made life easier for everyone around him. The more players able to create their own offence, the freer each player is. This has been the case with the Jazz all season long.
Getting Anthony Davis back is obviously key to the Lakers’ title chances. When it comes to racking up regular season wins, however, Schroder might be just as important.