The Atlanta Hawks and the team’s brass will most likely hold off on any more trades before the start of the 2018-19 season following the acquisition of veteran guard Jeremy Lin late last week. There’s no question a healthy Lin is a quality addition to any team but the Hawks already have their cart hitched to two guards; one new and the other the team’s best player.
A five-year veteran, point guard Dennis Schroder might be the only player in the NBA that led his team in two major categories and yet finds himself in the heart of trade rumors. Add to that fact that Schroder is coming into the second year of a four year, $70 million contract and there should be no reason to even attempt to move the best player on the team but here we are. Atlanta drafted a point guard in Trae Young (technically they traded for a point guard after drafting a pure shooting guard in now Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic at the number three slot) and traded for Lin (who might not even be with the team by the time the regular season begins three and a half months from now) and now has a three-headed monster at lead guard. Why should the team trade Schroder? The answer is simple: They shouldn’t.
Last season Schroder led the Hawks, granted a team with nothing to lose and very little wins, in scoring with nearly 20 points per game (19.4) and assists (6.2) while also averaging a career high in steals (1.1) and tying his career high in rebounds per game (3.1) despite missing 15 games. Owed $15.5 million per year over the next three seasons, Schroder has done what a highly paid point guard is suppossed to do: lead the team in key statistics, in particular assists. Wins are a team statistic, points and assists are personal stats and in that regard Schroder is the best on the team. Why trade the best individual player on your team? They, meaning GM Travis Schlenk and head coach Lloyd Pierce, shouldn’t. The 2019 protected first round pick the Hawks picked up from Dallas in the Young/Doncic draft day trade should hold them off from trading any of the starters. The future is in that pick and whatever draft pick the Hawks get after what should be another lottery season. The present, or at least what remains of it, lies in keeping all of the good players on the team for as long as possible. The other two key players, forwards Taurean Prince and John Collns are under contract, second-year guard Tyler Dorsey looks to have improved, Dewayne Dedmon is a serviceable center and rookies Young and Omari Spellman have huge upsides. (The jury is still out on fellow first round pick Kevin Huerter, who missed summer league with a hand injury) There’s no need to make any moves, especially concerning Schroder.
The idea of the Hawks being a better team this season without Schroder bares no argument. There were numerous times this past season that Schroder’s scoring prowess and ability to create his own shot were one of the few, if only, offensive weapons Atlanta had. Trading a nearely 20 point scorer better net you an equally as impressive scorer and in this particular case with the entire league knowing Atlanta is jam-packed with guards there’s no team willing to help them out at an even price.
Back to the orginal question of why the Hawks should keep Dennis Schroder, a 24-year old proven commodity coming off of an impressive showing for his German national team this summer (by the way, he’s the best player on that team too)? My answer remains the same: They shouldn’t. He’s the best player on the team, only has three years left on his contract before becoming an unrrestricted free agent and is the team’s best offensive player and a solid defender at the most important position in the NBA.
If there are any more reasons necessary for the Hawks front office to not trade Schroder then maybe Schroder is not the problem after all.