3 reasons why Dennis Schroder will be a contender for NBA Sixth Man of the Year honors this season

Boston Celtics Media Day featuring Dennis Schroder.
Boston Celtics Media Day featuring Dennis Schroder.

Dennis Schroder signed for the Boston Celtics after declining a five-year $84-million deal to once again play with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

For a one-year mid-level exception (MLE) of $5.9 million, the Celtics could have in their hands a difference-maker who will be very valuable in the loaded Eastern Conference playoff race. With Kemba Walker now playing for the New York Knicks, the former Laker will get every opportunity to be a significant part of the Cs rotation.

New head coach Ime Udoka recently revealed that he wants to put the ball in Marcus Smart's hands more often in the new season. Smart is now penciled in to be the starting quarterback, which would allow Schroder to return to his old role as sub-extraordinaire. He finished a close second to Montrezl Harrell for the 2010 6th Man of the Year Award.

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It will be interesting to see how Schroder plays coming off the bench after saying that starting at point was the next step in his career. If he embraces the opportunity, he can finally and officially claim Sixth Man of the Year recognition.


Dennis Schroder is set to reprise the super-sub role with the Boston Celtics

Dennis Schroder keeps a close eye on Chris Paul during last year's playoff between the LA Lakers and the Phoenix Suns
Dennis Schroder keeps a close eye on Chris Paul during last year's playoff between the LA Lakers and the Phoenix Suns

Marcus Smart quarterbacking the Boston Celtics this season could be set in stone already. Based on the evidence, there is no reason why Schroder can't flourish playing the part of the first player off the bench for the Celtics. Here are the reasons why:

#3 Dennis Schroder is versatile

Dennis Schroder and Anthony Davis talking tactics after a time out.
Dennis Schroder and Anthony Davis talking tactics after a time out.

In his eight years in the league, Dennis Schroder has demonstrated his adaptability and willingness to play in different ways. Last year, he was the designated starting point guard and often the shooting guard of the LA Lakers.

Schroder's versatility was most evident during his time with the OKC Thunder when he played alongside two other ball handlers, Chris Paul and Shai Gilgous-Alexander. The Thunder outscored the opposition by 268 points in the minutes that the trio was on the floor together.

#2 Dennis Schroder is effective and efficient off the bench

Germany v Brazil - Final: 2020 FIBA Men's Olympic Qualifying Tournament
Germany v Brazil - Final: 2020 FIBA Men's Olympic Qualifying Tournament

In the 2019-2020 season, Dennis Schroder averaged 18.9 points, 4 assists and 3.6 rebounds a game. He turned in his most accurate scoring and shooting output in the same year with a shooting percentage of 57.5% and eFG% of 53.4%. On top of this, he was directing plays in 30.8 minutes of action. The minutes and the usage did not affect his impact on the court.

It should be remembered that Dennis Schroder also played a crucial part as Jeff Teague's main backup or starting backcourt partner when the Atlanta Hawks soared to a 60-win season in the 2014-15 season.

The Boston Celtics are going to get the best out of Schroder when the starters take a breather. His playmaking and drives to the basket will only benefit shooters like Aaron Nesmith. Playing pick and roll with Al Horford would be an enticing option for Ime Udoka to unleash as well.

Udoka can also retain Schroder when Smart comes back in. He could adjust just like he did when playing with LeBron James or Chris Paul. The lineup of Smart, Schroder, Brown, Tatum and Williams is switchable on defense. It will be a stingy unit that will not compromise the offense.

On offense, another ball handler is not going to hurt. The Celtics have tried it with Irving and Walker before. They know how to incorporate Schroder, who knows just what to do in that kind of situation.


# Dennis Schroder can push the pace of the game

Dennis Schroder poses for photographers during the Boston Celtics' Media Day
Dennis Schroder poses for photographers during the Boston Celtics' Media Day

One of the things that Ime Udoka monitored during the first few days of training camp was the pace of the Boston Celtics. He has players on his roster who can play fast and do damage when running up and down the floor. It'll be fascinating to see how Tatum and Brown can benefit when the pace of the game quickens.

Brad Stevens based his offense on the concepts of space and pace last year. Udoka may want to continue certain aspects of that offense after having faced the Celtics as part of the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets. Getting more possessions every 48 minutes could be on the cards for the Cs.

If this is the case, no one suits up-tempo better on this team than Dennis Schroder. He is not only fast, but he also plays fast and will fit perfectly with how Udoka runs his offense. It might just highlight how good Schroder is and help him contend for the Sixth Man of the Year award when the season ends.

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