Boston Celtics

2021 NBA Free Agency: Dennis Schroder signing with Boston Celtics can be mutually beneficial pairing

The wait is over.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Dennis Schroder has agreed to a one-year, $5.9 million deal with the Boston Celtics.

In a post on Instagram, Schroder said he's "proud to announce" that he's signing with the Celtics, adding that it will be an honour to "put on the green and white."

This is arguably the best bargain deal of the offseason so far.

It was reported during the 2020-21 season that Schroder turned down a four-year, $84 million extension with the Los Angeles Lakers, resulting in him testing free agency. This free agent class wasn't as loaded as it was once expected to be, but there was no shortage of point guards. The position was headlined by three All-Stars in Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry and Mike Conley, and featured the likes of Spencer Dinwiddie, Lonzo Ball and Derrick Rose, each of whom got paid far more than Schroder.

As much as that might sting, Schroder has an opportunity to prove himself on a Celtics team that should be competitive in the Eastern Conference before testing free agency again in 2022, when there could be fewer big-name point guards available.

MORE: The best players still available in free agency

With Kemba Walker no longer on the team, there's a chance Schroder will start in Boston alongside Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford. He checks some of the same boxes Walker did on offence, giving the Celtics another ball handler who is at his best operating out of the pick-and-roll.

Walker is a far superior 3-point shooter off the dribble, but Schroder has been one of the league's best midrange shooters in each of the last two seasons. Only eight players made more shots than him from midrange in 2019-20, and he converted those opportunities at a 48.1 percent clip. He didn't finish quite as high in 2020-21 (30th overall in makes), but he made 48.7 percent of his attempts from midrange.

Schroder also gets to the rim at one of the higher rates for his position. While he's not an elite finisher, he's pretty crafty around the basket and is comfortable shooting from floater range.

He's also a blur with the ball in his hands.

Those same tools make Schroder a solid isolation scorer.

Schroder was actually one of the better one-on-one scorers in the league in 2019-20, ranking in the 81st percentile with 1.01 points per possession on real volume. (Per NBA.com, Schroder ranked 26th in total points scored in isolation on the season). He wasn't as efficient in 2020-21, but he still ranked in the 59th percentile with 0.91 points per possession.

Pick-and-rolls featuring Schroder as the ball handler and Brown or Tatum as the screener could be tough to deal with, as they're each capable of attacking mismatches.

Considering he'll be playing next to Brown and Tatum, both of whom handle the ball a decent amount themselves, it'll be interesting to see how well Schroder shoots off the catch in Boston.

Schroder is a much more capable standstill shooter from the perimeter, but he's been a little up and down throughout his career.

Dennis Schroder on catch-and-shoot 3s (NBA.com)
Season Frequency 3PM-3PA 3PT%
2013-14 15.1% 9-25 36.0
2014-15 15.9% 30-94 31.9
2015-16 18.7% 51-133 38.3
2016-17 14.0% 61-154 39.6
2017-18 12.3% 35-125 28.0
2018-19 22.7% 86-246 35.0
2019-20 24.0% 96-232 41.4
2020-21 21.3% 58-160 36.3

Schroder at least has experience playing next to other playmakers, particularly over the last few seasons. He shared the court with Russell Westbrook and Paul George in his first season in Oklahoma City, he was part of the Thunder's three guard lineup that took the league by storm in his second season with the franchise, and he played next to two superstars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis in his one season in Los Angeles.

That explains why his catch-and-shoot frequency (the percentage of his field goals attempts that are catch-and-shoot 3s) has skyrocketed lately.

All in all, The BBall Index's lineup creator tool doesn't project there to be much of a difference in terms of Boston's spacing, the rate at which it gets to the rim, the rate at which it finishes at the rim and overall playmaking in going from Walker to Schroder. The big difference is Schroder has been much more durable over the last couple of seasons, and he could be looking to prove himself after what happened to him in free agency.

Schroder could still make a big difference if he comes off the bench in Boston. (The Celtics could go big with a starting lineup of Smart, Brown, Tatum, Horford and Robert Williams or go smaller with Smart, Josh Richardson, Brown, Tatum and Horford). He's only a season removed from finishing second in Sixth Man of the Year voting and he's joining a team that had the third-lowest scoring second unit in the league last season. He could still close games for the Celtics, much like he did with the Thunder in 2019-20.

There's a chance Schroder is only a Celtic for one season - as noted by ESPN's Kevin Pelton, Boston will be in a tough position to re-sign him using non-Bird rights - but it could end up being a mutually beneficial signing.

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