Toronto Raptors fans should have two very firm rooting interests in the 2023 FIBA World Cup. While the Canadian national team will clearly be who most fans want to see take home the title, those same fans should also root for new Raptors signing Dennis Schroder and Germany to go on a run.
If what Schroder put on display in friendly tune-up games is a precursor of what he will do with the Raptors, fans should be absolutely thrilled with the signing. The former Lakers standout continued his solid run of form in the first group stage game.
Schroder and Germany had little trouble dispatching host nation Japan, as they took home an 81-63 victory. Orlando Magic big Moritz Wagner put up 25 points to lead this team, but Schroder was right behind him, setting up the offense with sharp passes and getting his fill of clutch shots.
Schroder finished with 14 points, five rebounds, and five assists against a Japanese side that lacked the depth to match up with a German side that featured four NBA players. Schroder’s alley-opp to Indiana Pacers center Daniel Theis was one of the highlights of the morning.
Toronto Raptors PG Dennis Schroder impresses as Germany beats Japan.
Schroder averaged 17.6 points per game in the six tune-up games before this competition, which is a sign that he can still fill it up without necessarily being an elite 3-point shooter. On a Raptors team that lacked any sort of bench depth, Schroder could be the Sixth Man they have needed for so long.
Franz Wagner mustered just 10 points, but he seemed to be more than willing to defer to his brother in this game. Former Raptors guard Isaac Bonga struggled in this one, scoring just four points on 2-8 shooting despite getting some serious minutes.
Former Raptors wing Yuta Watanabe, who is chasing a ring with the Phoenix Suns this season, finished with 20 points, six rebounds, and two blocks. While he did everything he could to try to pull out a win, his team just didn’t have the frontcourt depth to slow down Schroder and Wagner at the same time.
Germany will have to face off against a Finland team that lost to Australia by 26 points, but still has the overwhelming threat of Lauri Markkanen looming overhead. Australia could be viewed as the favorite to win this group, and they will really test Schroder’s skills.