The Boston Celtics‘ reworked backcourt isn’t enjoying the best of preseasons. Projected starter Marcus Smart was recently handed a one-game preseason suspension for missing a team flight. Rising sophomore Payton Pritchard is currently nursing a broken nose. While offseason acquisition Dennis Schroder shot an abysmal 14.3% from the field in his lone exhibition appearance.
Still, despite their lumps, the Celtics are hopeful that their slew of point guards will rise to the occasion come the regular season — as they should. Smart is being handed the keys to the offense after a career 2020-21 campaign where the Oklahoma State product notched personal bests in points (13.1) and assists (5.7). As for Pritchard, the former first-rounder is riding high after a brilliant Summer League showing and has showcased elite shooting range that has some in NBA circles comparing him to the Steph Currys and Damian Lillards of the world.
With Smart and Pritchard, each expected to take a step forward this season in both production and usage, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley questions whether the presence of a “score-first” option such as Schroder is truly needed in Beantown. With the point guard position presumably in good hands, the B/R columnist proposes the Cs pull off a “last-minute” trade ahead of the regular season, swapping out Schroder for some sharpshooting on the wing.
Schroder Returns to Los Angeles in B/R Proposal
No not with the Lakers. Instead, Buckley suggests Schroder heads to the Clippers to add guard depth behind Eric Bledsoe and playoff star Reggie Jackson. In return, the Celtics would receive the services of veteran forward Nicolas Batum and future draft compensation. Here’s how the hypothetical deal shapes up per Buckley:
- Boston Celtics receive:
- F, Nicolas Batum
- 2022 second-round pick
- Los Angeles Clippers receive:
- PG, Dennis Schroder
Boston’s late addition of Schroder impressed with value—he is much better than a $5.9 million player—but the fit is less than ideal. With Marcus Smart running point and Payton Pritchard piloting the second-team offense, there isn’t a nagging need for Schroder’s score-first skill set.
The Shamrocks could get better mileage out of flipping him to the Clippers, who may not be fully convinced by Reggie Jackson’s postseason re-emergence, for versatile veteran Batum and another second-round pick to play with.
Batum’s outside shooting (40.4 percent last season) and flexibility at the other end (11th-most versatile defender in 2020-21, per BBall Index), he would effortlessly fit into a supporting role alongside Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. That would let Al Horford anchor the bench mob and give Boston better spacing and more mobility with its first five.
Of course, we wouldn’t expect movement on the Schroder front anytime soon. Yes, Schroder did ink a one-year, prove-it deal this offseason. And yes, it’s fair to question whether he’d have a better opportunity to “prove-it” somewhere where there is a clearer path to minutes. With that said, the Celtics have themselves a player in Schroder who’s recently flaunted legitimate Sixth-Man of the Year chops and is set to play on arguably one of the league’s most team-friendly deals out there.
While a player of Batum’s versatility would certainly be a welcomed addition, chances are the Celtics would like to see how things function with their prized free-agent signee in the lineup before making any rash decisions.
The latest Celtics news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Celtics newsletter here!
Celtics Give Injury Update on Schroder
As we touched on above, Schroder has only suited up for one of Boston’s preseason games thus far. The nine-year veteran has been dealing with a left knee contusion after taking a fall in practice. Thankfully, Schroder looks to be good to go with an opening night matchup against the New York Knicks looming on October 20th. Schroder has returned to on-court activities, and according to head coach Ime Udoka is just “fine.”
“Dennis is fine,” Udoka stated, per the team’s official website. “It was just some soreness. He took the bump on the fall, so we held him out of one game and a practice. He’s been working out, getting his individual work in, got a lot of treatment in, and he’s good to go.”
Schroder is coming off an up-and-down 2020-21 campaign where he averaged 15.4 points over 61 starts in his lone season with the Lakers. The Celtics are hopeful a change in scenery can help Schroder tap back into his 2019 form when he finished second in Sixth Man of the Year voting after shooting a career-best 38.5 from 3-point range.