“You got to go through the bulls*** to get to the good s***,” Dennis Schroder told reporters following the Los Angeles Lakers‘ first-round playoff at his end-of-season news conference in June. Two-plus months later, and mounds of flack for his highly-publicized $84 million gaffe, the soon-to-be 28-year-old German point guard may very well be coming out on the latter end of his fiery quote.
Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Schroder agreed to a one-year deal with the Boston Celtics for the $5.9 million taxpayer midlevel exception — arguably an ideal situation to help him revitalize his stock and cash-in come this time next summer.
While his pockets may be a bit light this coming season, his hunger most certainly won’t be. The NBA’s former Sixth-Man of the Year runner-up took to social media shortly after news broke of his Celtics deal to boast his excitement for the next step in his NBA career. On his Instagram Story, Schroder shared a picture of himself donning the Celtics’ green and white and sent a strong message that should get both the organization and the city of Boston in his corner.
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Kemba Walker’s Successor?
Schroder appeared in 61 games during his lone season in Southern California, drawing the start in each of them. Yet, despite serving as a full-time starter for just the third time in his career, the former first-round pick saw a dip in nearly every statistical category — sans assists, where he averaged his most since 2017 (5.8 per game). Schroder finished his Lakers run averaging 15.4 points per game on 43.7% shooting.
With that said, Schroder is just one season removed from averaging nearly 19 points per game and shooting a career-best 38.5% from beyond the arc. In other words, there’s a reason why the Lakers offered him north of $80 million last summer, the talent is most definitely there.
The question now is, how will coach Ime Udoka choose to deploy that talent in Boston?
Trading away four-time All-Star Kemba Walker theoretically leaves a starting vacancy in the Celtics’ backcourt. However, by the looks of it, the team plans to roll with Marcus Smart as their lead guard to start the season. While nothing is set in stone, the Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy reported that the Celtics pitched Schroder the idea of backing up Smart during negotiations. CelticsBlog’s Keith Smith also added that Schroder arrives in Beantown with “no expectations of a starting role.”
In reality, the starting designation really doesn’t matter too much, as we’ll likely see Schroder and Smart roaming the backcourt together more times than not come the 2021-22 campaign.
Payton Pritchard Continues to Shine in Summer League
Another name to keep an eye on in the Celtics’ point guard rotation is Payton Pritchard. A pleasant surprise as a contributor during his rookie campaign, the Oregon product has looked head and shoulders above where he was last year during Summer League, albeit against lesser competition.
In a 107-82 victory over the Denver Nuggets, Pritchard flirted with a triple-double, recording 21 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds. Through two games, the point guard is tied with Aaron Nesmith — fresh off a 33-point explosion — for the team-lead in points, averaging 22.0 per game. On top of that, his 8.0 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per contest all rank within the top-two of all Celtics players.