The Toronto Raptors’ decision to sign Dennis Schroder is looking better by the week, as Schroder is fresh off leading the German national team to an 8-0 record in the 2023 FIBA World Cup while winning MVP of the competition. Schroder is expected to perform like that as a Sixth Man or temporary starting point guard.
Due to their geographical limitations, the Raptors are typically not a free agent destination. The fact Schroder was signed so quickly after Fred VanVleet left to join the Houston Rockets shows that Toronto had a great deal of interest in him, and the interest was reciprocated by Schroder himself.
The Raptors are trying everything they can to get their offense performing at a top level, hiring Darko Rajakovic away from the Memphis Grizzlies to be their next head coach. Rajakovic had past history with Schroder, so much so that Dennis was willing to pass up a return to the Los Angeles Lakers to join him.
Schroder said that he and Rajakovic became good friends when the two were both in Oklahoma City as the backup point guard and top assistant coach (respectively) for the Thunder. When Rajakovic got the Raptors job, Schroder told his agent to get him in Toronto as soon as possible.
Dennis Schroder wanted to join Darko Rajakovic on the Toronto Raptors.
Schroder averaged 19.1 points and 6.1 assists per game for Germany in the World Cup, which goes to show how lethal he can be when empowered to be an offensive game-changer. He won’t be as good as VanVleet, but he could be a solid fit on the Raptors roster alongside Scottie Barnes.
Rajakovic’s connection with the German ball-handler was strengthened by hiring Vin Bhavnani, who was a coach alongside him and Schroder in Oklahoma City, as one of his top assistants. Those Thunder teams had some lethal offenses, which bodes well for both Schroder and Toronto.
Under Rajakovic in Oklahoma City, Schroder had one of the best seasons of his career. Rajakovic has a history of working well with skyscraping big men, but he has also helped point guards like Schroder, Ja Morant, and Tyus Jones improve their overall games.
The Raptors are not expected to compete for a championship this season. Still, Masai Ujiri believes they can be an improved team now that players like Schroder are in town to supplement the team’s ineffective half-court offense.