A New Co-Star
The Los Angeles Lakers are not resting on their laurels.
Weeks after the conclusion of the 2020 NBA season, the offseason is off and running, and the defending champions have already made the splash move of the winter, putting in place a trade to bring sixth man extraordinaire Dennis Schroder into their championship mix.
Schroder has long served as a reserve dynamo in the league – he led the league in points per game off the bench last season – and he figures to maintain that role with the Lakers. He started just two games for Oklahoma City last season, and 14 games for the Thunder the year before.
Only twice in his seven-year career has he served as a full-time starter – from 2016 to 2018 with the Atlanta Hawks.
However, despite his penchant to serve as a backup, Schroder played 30.8 minutes per game for the Thunder last year and was second on the team in scoring (18.9 points per game), barely trailing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (19.0), and edging out both Danilo Galliinari (18.7) and Chris Paul (17.6).
Schroder also led OKC in field goals made (7.0) and field goals attempted (14.8), and was second in assists (4.0).
In other words, Schroder effectively served as a starter who came off the bench.
Will Schroder serve as the magic elixir that will keep the Lakers at the top of the NBA heap?
Chris Broussard is a fan of the deal for multiple reasons, including the fact that it put a stop to another trade that was rumored to go down in LA.
"DeMar DeRozan was iffy as far as the fit. Schroder showed he can play on the ball or off the ball by playing with Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He's a bonafide third scorer."
Just last week, chatter began to spread about the Lakers potentially trading for former All-Star forward DeMar DeRozan, but LA's acquisition of Schroder would suggest that pursuit is no longer in play.
Broussard also pointed out that with the Lakers grabbing Schroder, Rajon Rondo's exit out of LA is all but sealed.
Laker fans might feel some type of way about Rondo not returning considering in the playoffs, 'Playoff Rondo' paid dividends for the Purple and Gold.
And on Monday, Skip Bayless went as far as to say that without Rondo, the Lakers' chances at defending their title will go down the drain.
The offseason is far from over, but the Lakers seem to have gotten the piece they were looking for – and it didn't take them long to do it.
The ball is now in the court of the rest of the NBA. The champions have made the first move.