This offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers were able to pick up the Sixth Man of the Year in Montrezl Harrell and the runner-up in Dennis Schroder. Conventional wisdom would tell you that means the team is about to have the best bench in the league. However, there might be other plans on how to use the two new players.
Schroder recently did an interview and talked about how he isn’t awestruck about the idea of playing with LeBron James.
“No, I’m no longer afraid, neither is pressure,” Schroder said, per Mopo (translated to English, via Google Translate). “That’s over after eight years in the league. I’m looking forward to LeBron and the others, want to improve the team, whether on the defensive or offensive.”
After those comments, Schroder dropped some surprising information about starting for the Lakers.
“Yes, that was a condition for me,” Schroder said after being asked if he’d be a starter. “Gaining experience in Oklahoma for a year or two and then back on the field from the beginning – that was always the plan. I worked that out for myself. And the Lakers know what they got in me. I always give everything – whether I play in blue or purple-yellow, it doesn’t matter.”
Schroder is entering a contract year and when he says starting “was a condition” for him, that clearly is a demand that he be a starter or he’s not going to stay with the team long-term. This is a bit of a surprise because Schroder thrived off the bench last season. He figured to be the guy who was going to run the offense when LeBron was on the bench. While that’s still possible, it sounds like Schroder will be in the starting lineup.
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How to Get Schroder in the Starting Lineup
Schroder is only 6’1 so ideally, he’d be playing point guard. However, LeBron is the best distributor on the Lakers and he’s likely to assume those duties. This would mean that Schroder will be the team’s shooting guard, which makes things a little tricky for the team. They paid Kentavious Caldwell-Pope a lot of money, and he probably doesn’t want to be on the bench.
Wesley Matthews was signed to presumably take over Danny Green’s starting spot at small forward. If Schroder starts at shooting guard and Caldwell-Pope starts at small forward, that pushes Matthews to the bench. That makes the Lakers’ starting lineup worse on the defensive end but probably lethal on offense. Los Angeles needs to keep guys happy so it looks the starting lineup is in for a bit of a mix-up.
Schroder Is Ready to Compete for a Championship
Schroder has been in the NBA for seven years and hasn’t even sniffed a championship. He now joins the defending champions who will be favored to win it all again. Schroder is ready to win some games.
“Everyone is talking about it. I’m a hard worker and I like to see how it goes after the season,” Schroder said. “But of course: For the Lakers there is only the title. We speak of it internally, of course. We definitely want to play for the championship.”
The path to the NBA Finals is always difficult but the Lakers have a very strong shot to repeat this season.