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Hawks may have steal of draft with Dennis Schroder at No. 17

Jul 22, 2013, 8:43 AM EDT

Hawks Clippers Basketball AP

It is dangerous to read too much into an NBA Summer League performance — remember a year ago the co-MVPs were Damian Lillard and Josh Selby. They went on to have radically different NBA seasons.

But the one guy in Las Vegas who leapt out to me as a potential steal of a pick was 19-year-old German point guard Dennis Schroder of the Hawks, who was drafted at No. 17.

In the helter-skelter, pick-up style of the NBA Summer League Schroder showed a mature game, a patient and unhurried style that stood out — especially since he was one of the youngest players there.

“I think part of that is having experience playing in Europe,” Hawks Summer League coach Quin Snyder said of Schroder, who played two seasons professionally in Germany before entering the draft. “He was living the professional life in a lot of ways… the competition he’s playing with — he’s playing against men, players that have played professionally for eight, nine, 10 years some of them. When you see him play his game reflects that at some level.”

The thing that grabbed you first about Schroder was his defense — he got down in a low crouch and pressured the ball. Again he was mature, he wasn’t gambling he was counting on his quick feet and ridiculous wingspan to take away what the ball handler wanted to do. At 19 he was the best defensive point guard in Las Vegas.

“He’s got the quickness and the length to be very good on the ball,” Snyder told ProBasketballTalk. “I think the thing that stood out for us is that it’s very difficult to screen him. He gambles a little bit, but for the most part he’s just impacting the game by consistently applying pressure.

“Maybe the biggest is his ability to not be screened in the pick-and-roll. Pick-and-roll defense is an important thing.”

There were ups and downs over the course of Schroder’s play in Vegas — he shot just 34 percent overall and 29 percent from three, and while he dished out 5.6 assists a game he also had 3.4 turnovers. He showed a great feel for the game, but everything was not smooth. He was adjusting to the NBA game.

“I think everybody’s athletic here in America, in Germany it was a little bit different,” Schroder said.

“I know some of the things coach (Mike Budenholzer) has challenged him on, he can continue to shoot the ball, his focus on the court and really maintaining it, having an even keel mentally and really keeping his poise. Some of those things you just don’t work on on your own, you need to play, and I think the more he plays that will be good for him.

“He was in the gym while we were in Vegas working on his shot, so some of those things he needs to do to evolve as a player we’re going to see more as his competition increases.”

Schroder lands in a good spot in Atlanta — Jeff Teague is back as the starter and will get the bulk of the minutes, with Lou Williams coming off the bench and wanting the ball in his hands also. Shelvin Mack is also on the roster.

But what Schroder showed in Vegas was a guy ready to get some NBA minutes — he can come in off the bench, play good defense, set up some teammates and start to get a feel for the NBA game.

Watching him, I saw what could well be a quality NBA point guard down the line, a guy who can start and lead a team on both ends if he develops.

And that would be a real steal at No. 17.

  1. jadaruler - Jul 22, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    I was in love with German Rondo watching him weave through the American high school players in the Nike game.

    The Mavs passed on Dennis and Olinyk for cap space and they might regret passing on both. I still have faith in Larkin.

  2. jcmeyer10 - Jul 22, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    Think Shelvin gets shipped to Boston or does the Phil Pressey signing take that option off the table?

  3. dezglobal - Jul 22, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    This happens every year and every year they go to their respective teams at the start of the season and we barely ever hear about them again.

  4. sjbrown8 - Jul 22, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    I get the Josh Shelby reference…But Damien Lillard went on to become ROY and is a star in the making. I would have liked to hear about some other Summer League standouts, because not everyone turns out to be a dud.

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 22, 2013 at 11:16 AM

      That’s kind of the point of mentioning Lillard. Selby was a dud, Lillard was great. He’s saying you can’t read too much into the performances because it can go either way.

      Personally, I just enjoy reading about basketball and don’t really need it to be qualified.

  5. gschwartz1 - Jul 22, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    I’ m totally with you on Schroeder, here. He’s shown a mature game for a mature European-style point guard in many respects, but obviously needs some work. His shot isn’t there, but I think it should come as his form is pretty decent. He zipped some passes around that were a little off the mark, but showed incredible vision. He was pretty good at reading the P/R offensively with Muscala and Mike Scott, as both of those guys were living off him. Should be fun to keep a watch on Schroeder.

  6. chiadam - Jul 22, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    The Summer League MVP is the shersey. They might as well let the players just wear their own personal shorts and tees.

  7. wwttww - Jul 22, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Dudes gonna be the truth….It’s all about the Ö !

  8. thatstinks - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    He really did look like a baller . I really hope they don’t send him back to Europe . I think 10-15 minutes a game would do wonders for him .

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