The Toronto Raptors did not wait long to sign a point guard following Fred VanVleet’s departure for the Houston Rockets. Just a few minutes after his departure was confirmed, Masai Ujiri turned around and pilfered Dennis Schroder away from the Los Angeles Lakers.
The 29-year-old Schroder signed a two-year contract worth just under $26 million, as the Raptors used their MLE to secure his signing. While he isn’t in the same tier as VanVleet, he’s a veteran scorer who can defend well, play with energy, and serve as a vocal leader both on and off the court.
For some reason, the Raptors have been designated as one of the biggest losers of the 2023 offseason, with names like The Athletic and ClutchPoints taking shots at the idea of “replacing” VanVleet as the team’s starting point guard with Schroder. Those takes are missing the mark.
With Gary Trent Jr. picking up his 2023-24 player option ahead of a likely long-term extension and Darko Rajakovic’s assistance that Scottie Barnes will be at the forefront of the team’s offensive plans, both of them will likely make up the starting backcourt. Schroder was signed to be an ace Sixth Man.
Dennis Schroder will change the Toronto Raptors’ bench.
Schroder has averaged 13.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game while making 43% of his shots and just under 34% of his 3-pointers during the last three seasons, two of which were spent with the Lakers. While he started in LA, Schroder has tons of experience coming off the bench.
If Barnes is ready to handle the starting ball-handler responsibilities, a second unit primarily consisting of Schroder, rookie Gradey Dick, Precious Achiuwa, and new signing Jalen McDaniels could be a formidable unit. If he was signed to be the backup point guard and Sixth Man, he might end up being exemplary in both roles.
While he is not the player VanVleet is, the fact that No. 23’s heavy diet of shots will be distributed among the rest of the lineup will immediately make the team more well-rounded. With Schroder and McDaniels giving the bench the needed nitro boost, Toronto handled VanVleet’s move reasonably well.
If the Raptors signed Schroder with the expectation he would be an offensive cornerstone, they would have missed the mark. If they brought him on board to improve the bench while keeping the team’s pesky defensive style intact, Schroder should do a fantastic job of living up to his contract.