Last season in Schröder’s first campaign with the Thunder, he was asked to take on more of an off-ball role yet still managed to average 15.5 points and 4.1 assists per game. He made 38.8 percent of his corner three-pointers last season, dwarfing his overall three-point efficiency of 34.1 percent. This year with two other point guards on the roster, he still certainly won’t be the only one running the offense, but the hope is that the off-ball skills he honed last year can complement his on-ball prowess.
Same goes for the defensive end of the floor. Schröder has always been a pest, but without having to shoulder the entirety of the ballhandling role last season he was able to truly get back to using his length and quickness to frustrate opposing ballhanders as they tried to get to the paint. In fact, Schröder recorded 39 charges taken last year, double his total from the 2017-18 season.
It won’t just be in the halfcourt where Schröder harasses opponents. Look for that golden patch atop Schröder’s head to be bobbing near the basketball for all 94 feet this year. One of the best in the league at pressuring full-court, Schröder will be alongside one of the league’s premiere on-ball defenders from last year in Gilgeous-Alexander and a nine-time All-Defensive Team member in Paul. If the Thunder’s point guards can slow up opponents on the way up the floor, it’ll add a sixth defender to the mix – the shot clock.
“We’ve got to,” Schröder said about pressuring in the backcourt.
“Dennis is really, really good at that. He can get up and really pressure,” Donovan added. “Shai can do some of that… We’d like to do it just to kind of maybe take some time and be a little bit more disruptive.”