Oklahoma City Thunder: Can Dennis Schroder fix his image next season?

Can Dennis Schroder clean up his act with the Oklahoma City Thunder and break free from his bad reputation once and for all?

The Oklahoma City Thunder have a new backup point guard. Dennis Schroder has a reputation for being difficult, both on and off the court.

His most notable off-court transgression was being arrested for a late-night fight outside a restaurant, an ugly affair which kept him in the media for nearly a year afterwards and nearly landed him with a felony charge.

When it comes to basketball, Schroder hasn’t exactly been exactly easy to get along with either.

In his time with the Atlanta Hawks he was no stranger to getting benched and even went so far as to unfollow the Hawks on social media as a means of showing his displeasure at being part of a losing organization.

He is possibly worse at staying out of trouble than Draymond Green, and that’s saying something.

Schroder’s bad reputation is a shame because he is a very talented player. Last year he averaged 19.4 points, 4.8 assists 2.5 rebounds while playing 31.0 minutes per game.

He’s certainly not All-Star caliber, but he’s a very serviceable point guard option. It would be a shame to see that go to waste just because of an attitude problem.

Schroder was selected in the the 2013 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks with the 17th overall pick. He had an up-and-down first few years in the league, struggling with turnovers and inconsistency.

He played backup point guard behind Jeff Teague, but even ended up losing that role to Shelvin Mack for a while.

Eventually he worked his way back into the rotation and showed such improvement that Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer handed him the keys to the car in 2016 by signing him to an extension and trading Teague away to the Pacers.

Next season, Schroder will have new role and a fresh start alongside Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

He won’t be starting like he did in Atlanta, but let’s face it, who wouldn’t rather come off the bench for a competitive team than play starters’s minutes for a tanking organization?

Coming off the bench for the Oklahoma City Thunder will be a new challenge for Schroder. He will have to put his ego aside and accept that the team belongs to Westbrook.

He will have to be content with whatever minutes head coach Billy Donovan sees fit to give him — and it may not be a lot given Westbrook’s ability to run for days without tiring.

The concerning thing in this equation is that Westbrook and Schroder will be two egos sharing minutes at the same position. This could lead to conflict if Schroder feels like he’s not getting his share.

After all, he will probably be the most talented backup point guard in the league in this new situation. If he can show some humility and accept his new role then maybe, just maybe, this can work.

One one more thing: no more bar fights. No one wants to be that player who is always in the news for the wrong reasons. Schroder is still young and he has time to rehab his image still.

His fresh start with the Thunder might be just the thing he needs to find balance and put to rest his image as a “problem player.”