The Toronto Raptors’ decision to sign veteran point guard Dennis Schroder in free agency following the loss of Fred VanVleet has been met with mixed reactions over the last few months. Opinions on Schroder have varied wildly, yet have been more angled towards the positive side after the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Schroder had about as good of an offseason as a new signing could possibly have, as he won a World Cup gold medal with Germany, taking home MVP honors and an unblemished 8-0 record in the competition. Schroder will now link up with new head coach Darko Rajakovic.
Schroder and Rajakovic have a great working relationship, as the two have ties going back to their respective tenures in Oklahoma City. Rajakovic is expecting big things from Schroder as both a leader in the locker room and an impact player on the court.
“He’s matured so much,” Rajakovic said, via Josh Lewenberg of TSN. “He was great when I had him in OKC, but he’s on a completely different level [now]. Even today in practice, he did such a good job of talking to his teammates, talking to young guys, explaining, making sure they’re in the right spots.”
Toronto Raptors: Darko Rajakovic expects big things from Dennis Schroder
Schroder has averaged double digits in points per game in every pro season except for his rookie year, bringing the consistency and offensive juice Toronto was sorely missing last season. While not an amazing shooter, Schroder can get to the rim and play pesky defense.
Schroder won’t play the same role he did for Germany, where he was the leading ball-handler and scorer alongside NBA players like Franz Wagner and Daniel Theis, but he will be given a great deal of responsibility inside or outside of the starting lineup.
Schroder has said previously that he hopes to become the team’s starting point guard, but he hasn’t expressed any consternation if he starts the season on the bench. With Toronto’s second unit ranking as one of the worst in the league, he could end up as a catalyst for change.
Rajakovic and Schroder helped make magic happen in Oklahoma City, and his terrific play for his country in the summer could be the perfect predecessor to a debut season with the Raptors that helps fix many of the flaws weighing this roster down at the moment.