Dennis Schroder hunting for Raptors starting point guard job

PORTLAND, OREGON - JANUARY 22: Dennis Schroder #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OREGON - JANUARY 22: Dennis Schroder #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors may not have the services of Fred VanVleet in the 2023-24 season and beyond, but they acted quickly to replace him by signing Dennis Schroder to a two-year, $25 million contract that establishes him as one of the critical members of the Toronto rotation.

Schroder’s fit on this roster drew some raised eyebrows from Raptors fans worried about the state of the rotation. Would he be the starting point guard, even though such a move would likely mean that Gary Trent Jr. would have to be sent over to the bench to make room?

Schroder is not shying away from the challenge of being a starter and leader for the Raptors if we are to go off what he said in his introductory press conference. Schroder is clearly envisioning himself stepping right into VanVleet’s role as the de facto starting ball-handler.

Schroder referred to himself as the team’s starting point guard, though he did qualify that statement by saying he would adapt to whatever role head coach Darko Rajakovic will ask of him. Considering his history off the bench and connection with Rajakovic, he will likely be willing to move to the second unit if his starting pursuit fails.

Dennis Schroder eyeing Toronto Raptors’ point guard spot.

Schroder is going to put the ball in the basket, as he has averaged at least 10 points per game in every season except his rookie year. Schroder averaged 18.9 points per game as a backup in Oklahoma City, yet was a consistent starter in his two seasons with the Lakers.

Schroder might be better served on the bench, as he is going to get his diet of shots up no matter what the cost. That might not be the best fit for a lineup that features players like Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam, who need to pile up the points this season.

However, Schroder has shown to be a solid passer, pesky defender, and vocal leader, which are all traits that the Raptors need more of after the VanVleet departure. There’s a reason Masai Ujiri moved so quickly to sign him.

While Schroder has become infamous for his decision to turn down a big extension with the Lakers, that has obscured the fact that he has been a consistently solid performer with a few different teams in the last few years. Rajakovic will like him irrespective of where he slots into the lineup.

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