Russell Westbrook, Dennis Schroeder may thrive while sharing the court

Russell Westbrook, Dennis Schroeder may thrive while sharing the court


Russell Westbrook, Dennis Schroeder may thrive while sharing the court

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If nothing else, the Oklahoma City Thunder will likely have the best backup point guard in the NBA after acquiring guard Dennis Schroeder.

Oklahoma City landed the 24-year-old, German-born basketball player this offseason when trading away veteran forward Carmelo Anthony. While he projects to play in the second unit behind Russell Westbrook, there is also a reality in which the Thunder could play both Westbrook and Schroeder at the same time.

Here is what Kevin O’Connor wrote about such a situation (via The Ringer):

“Thunder head coach Billy Donovan says he wants to play fast this season. A Schroeder-Westbrook backcourt tandem would fit his vision. It’d be particularly interesting to see how the duo operates in open space alongside a frontcourt of Paul George, Jerami Grant, and a hopefully rejuvenated Patrick Patterson. Schröder is a better point guard than any of the scrap-heap options the team has had in recent years.”

The Thunder were able to outscore opponents by 8.6 points per 100 possessions when Westbrook was on the court with George, Grant and Patterson. If coach Donovan were to insert Schroeder into this group, he’d offer the 2017 NBA MVP a chance to shine off the ball.

The team also had a net rating of 6.7 when Westbrook shared the floor with Raymond Felton. Westbrook averaged an additional 4.4 points and 1.7 rebounds per 36 minutes when he played with the veteran point guard, per RotoGrinders.

Westbrook would have a chance to showcase his skillset when cutting to the basket and on spot-up opportunities. Schroder, in turn, would take over his responsibilities as the pick-and-roll ballhandler — this is how he was used on almost exactly half of his overall possessions last season.

Last season, he completed more passes than all but just one player (Ben Simmons) in the Eastern Conference. He is more than capable of running point and Westbrook has shown he’s capable of playing off the ball.

During the 2015-16 season, Westbrook and 6-foot-tall guard DJ Augustin played 88 minutes together. The Thunder outscored opponents by 17.7 points per 100. Oklahoma City outscored opponents by 17.8 points per 100 during the 2013-14 season when Westbrook was on the court with Reggie Jackson.

The most astonishing example of another point guard coexisting well with Westbrook was in 2011-12. When both Westbrook and Derek Fisher were on the court, the Thunder had a net rating of 26.9.

Schroeder, who was one of the most efficient scorers in isolation last season, could be the best point guard teammate to join Westbrook — not counting James Harden, who didn’t play that type of role with the team. While the trade with the Hawks allows the seven-time All-Star some added time to rest, it also provides another intriguing lineup option as well.

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