The Los Angeles Lakers were finally able to end their four-game losing streak on Friday with a 102-93 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. A big reason the team was finally about to get out of their slump was the return of Dennis Schroder. The veteran guard had to miss the last four games due to the NBA’s COVID-19 policies.
While he was out, Schroder had to self-quarantine. It wasn’t easy for him.
“I had my thoughts, I’d share with my teammates via text,” Schroder said. “It was just hard for me to be in my guest house. Playing video games, working out. It sucked.”
The thing that was most frustrating for the guard was that he never tested positive for the virus. He clearly wasn’t happy about missing time and took a shot at the NBA.
“It hurts,” Schroder said of being away from the team. “I never had COVID. Tested negative the whole time. The situation is what it is. But the NBA has to do better.”
The league has to be very careful with its COVID-19 procedures. A big outbreak amongst players could stop the season dead in its tracks. It’s easy to see why Schroder would be frustrated but the NBA is just trying to keep everybody safe.
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Frank Vogel Explains What Schroder Brings to Lakers
There’s been a lot of talk about how Anthony Davis being out hurts the Lakers but Schroder has proven that he’s very valuable to the team. He clearly brought a lot of energy to a team that’s been lacking in that department. Head coach Frank Vogel had a chance to explain why Schroder is important.
“He’s such a complete player, a two-way player. He’s an elite defender so I think we certainly missed him on that side of the ball with his containment ability, but also just picking up full court and setting that tone,” Vogel said before the game, via the Los Angeles Times. “But his ability to get to the paint and generate shots for others and score the basketball was missed as well.”
It’s starting to become apparent that Schroder is the Lakers’ third most important player. The team better hope that he doesn’t have to miss any more time this season.
Lakers Need to Extend Schroder
Schroder hasn’t consistently lit up the stat sheet since coming to Los Angeles. He’s only averaging 14.5 points a game, which is his lowest average since the 2015-2016 season. However, he’s clearly having an impact on the Lakers as detailed by Vogel.
Schroder is playing on an expiring contract. He’ll enter free agency this offseason if he doesn’t get an extension. Due to how well he’s played, the Lakers should extend him ASAP. Based on reports and things Schroder has said, it sounds like both sides would like to come to a deal. As of February 23rd, the Lakers were able to start contract negotiations with him. The guard recently bought a big house in Los Angeles, so it sounds like negotiations are probably going well. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Schroder lands a hefty contract extension before the season is over.