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Today we continue our look at potential Celtics Draft selections. Read the first instalment, on Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng, here.
Name: Dennis Schröder
Club: Phantoms Braunschweig (Germany)
Position: Point guard
Stats: 6’2″, 165 lbs.
One of several European players projected to go in the first round, Schröder is often compared to Rajon Rondo, and has himself admitted that he models his game on that of the Celtics’ point guard. Schröder’s body type is similar, although he is an inch taller and about 20 pounds lighter than his idol, Rondo. On paper, it could appear somewhat mystifying that Schröder should be ranked as high as he is on teams’ radars, playing as he does for a team that finished near the bottom this season in Germany’s Basketball Bundesliga, not one of Europe’s top leagues.
At age 19, Schröder had the kind of breakout season that attracts the attention of NBA scouts, winning both the Most Improved and the Best Young German Player awards on the strength of his 12 points and 3.2 assists per game. Better yet for his NBA aspirations, he had 18 points and a game-high 6 assists at last month’s Nike Hoop Summit, helping the World team to a 112-98 win over the USA.
If he fulfills his potential as ‘the next Rondo’, then he fits on any team. The consensus among scouts and analysts is that Schröder will, indeed, be an NBA-worthy starting point guard in a few years, as he’s the kind of pass-first player that American colleges don’t seem to be producing as much as they used to. Still, you can’t help but feel like any team that picks him will be taking a gamble. After all, this is a guy who’s had one good season in a very minor league, and has no experience playing against elite talent, as opposed to say, Ricky Rubio, who had played at the top international level before coming Stateside.
In the Celtics’ case, they don’t need a starting PG right away, which makes Schröder that much more enticing. Rondo has many years left ahead of him, so if Danny Ainge decides to draft a point guard, he will do so knowing that there will be plenty of time to mold him into an NBA-caliber player. The idea of having a very similar, younger player backing Rondo up has to be appealing to Ainge and Doc Rivers, since the lack of a true point guard in Rondo’s absence cost them so dearly in the playoffs this season.