Dennis Schröder has gotten his swagger back with the Toronto Raptors

Dennis Schröder, Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
Dennis Schröder, Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

The German point guard was entering another summer of eye-opening international play. After signing a two-year deal worth over $25 million with the Toronto Raptors at the start of free agency, both parties had serious interest.

Nick Nurse’s replacement, Darko Rajaković, had a great relationship with the 30-year-old initiator. As an assistant coach with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he and Schröder grew close while he was playing his best basketball in OKC, where he was eventually a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year.

Coming into his first head coaching gig with the Raptors, acknowledging the likelihood of Fred VanVleet’s departure, Rajaković knew who he wanted with the ball in his hands.

"“I think Darko (Rajaković), the Head Coach, this is his first year as a head coach as well. I met him five years ago I think in OKC, we became friends, I liked how he was coaching myself and the team. He called me right away when he took over, and I definitely said to my agent, I want to be there, I want to be a part of that.” – Dennis Schröder to ESPN’s Malika Andrews"

Schröder wanted the reigns that were being presented by Rajakovic. He has continuously thrived as the initiator driving the ship as seen in FIBA World Cup play as this past summer’s MVP leading Germany to gold.

“I think it’s a great fit to play like the National team type and handle the ball a little bit more, go out and run, on the defensive end, active,” he said. “I think it’s a great fit.”

Dennis Schröder Has Gotten His Swagger Back With the Toronto Raptors

The 30-year-old has been an engine for the Toronto Raptors. Schröder has put up 17 points and 2.8 rebounds across 32.9 minutes, shooting 47.2 percent from the field and 40 from three. With a true-shooting percentage of 57.9, he is standing just outside of the top-60 when it comes to player efficiency rating after beginning the season within the top-50.

He is hanging around 10th among point guards, as his 8.4 assists have been eye-opening, with Schröder standing tied with Fred VanVleet for fifth in the NBA.

Before Wednesday night’s contest in Dallas, he was tied for the league lead in total assists recorded, where he now also finds himself standing at fifth. Of the Raptors’ eight games, he only failed to record eight or more assists in just three of them. Wednesday night was the first game Schröder had under six assists.

This has been the highest assist rate of Schröder’s career since he was 24, his last year in Atlanta in 2017–18. Schröder averaged 6.2 assists that season and had just six games with double-digit assists. His start thus far makes him expect to easily exceed that number. His assist rate is at a career-best 38.5 percent and in the 90th percentile for assist-to-usage amongst point guards.

The Raptors are coming off three high-stake wins out of their last four. Toronto took down a prodigy in San Antonio, a notable MVP candidate and a hot team in Dallas, and a title favorite in the Bucks at home.

Schröder’s quarterbacking of the Raptors’ offense has elevated Scottie Barnes ascension. It has been a huge key to them maintaining their accustomed grit within the East’s race of contention early on, even through the organization’s changes. Sort of as seen in the past following their 2019 championship.