Celtics

Five things to know about Dennis Schröder, the Celtics’ new guard

Wendell Cruz
Dennis Schröder is one of the most accomplished German players in NBA history. Wendell Cruz/AP


Dennis Schröder has a long and occasionally contentious history with the Celtics, but the next chapter in that story will feature him donning the green and white after he announced Tuesday on Instagram that he will be joining the team.

The Celtics will be the veteran point guard’s fourth team in nine seasons after his one-year stint with the Los Angeles Lakers. After reportedly turning down an $84 million extension earlier this year, the 27-year-old will sign a one-year, $5.9 million contract for an opportunity to prove himself in Boston.

Of Schröder’s 557 career games, he’s come off the bench for 319 of them. Most notably, Schröder, 27, finished second in Sixth Man Award voting for the 2019-20 season, receiving 35 first-place votes.

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A trade during that offseason landed him in Los Angeles, where he started 61 games, scored 15.4 points per game, and dished out almost 6 assists per game. Schröder’s three-point percentage dropped five percent on 1.5 fewer attempts in 2021, as he shot 34 percent from deep compared to 39 percent the previous year.

Here are five things you need to know about the most recent addition to Boston’s backcourt.

He immediately becomes one of the Celtics top playmakers and defenders

Schröder’s 5.8 assists per game last season would place him first on the 2020-21 Celtics, narrowly beating out Marcus Smart, who averaged 5.7. In addition to showing an ability to finish at the rim and knock down free throws at an 85 percent clip, Schröder made a significant impact on defense for the Lakers and tied for 20th in the NBA in defensive win shares with 2.7 last season. Jayson Tatum is the closest Celtic on the list after registering 2.5 defensive win shares of his own.

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Schröder’s most recent playoff series win came against the Celtics

The point guard, 22 at the time, came off the bench for the fourth-seeded Atlanta Hawks in 2016, defeating the fifth-seeded Celtics in six games. Schröder averaged more than nine points per game during the series and saw his minutes and points increase in the following round, but the Hawks were swept by the eventual champion Cavaliers.

After stepping into a starting role the next season, Schröder’s playoff production exploded. He averaged almost 25 points per game and nearly 8 assists over a six-game series loss to the Wizards in 2017. The Hawks missed the playoffs in 2018, and Schröder was traded to the Thunder, where the team dropped back-to-back first-round series.

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As a Laker, Schröder fell in his lone playoff appearance to the Phoenix Suns. Despite the lack of recent success, Schröder brings 52 games of playoff experience with him to Boston, a significant difference compared to former Celtics guards Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier, who have 50 career playoff games combined.

He signed his first NBA contract at age 20 but was a professional long before that

Schröder was born in Braunschweig, Germany, and grew up as an avid skater, picking up basketball for fun before it quickly became his career. He began playing professionally in Germany for the club now known as Basketball Löwen Braunschweig during the 2009-10 season, four years before he was selected 17th in the 2013 NBA draft.

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In his final season playing overseas, Schröder scored almost 12 points per game and shot over 40 percent from three. Prior to his NBA debut, the guard also competed for the German national team in the 2012 U-20 Euros and the 2011 U-18 Euros.

He has history with the Celtics on and off the court

After knocking the Celtics out of the playoffs the season prior, the Hawks and Celtics met for a mid-January 2017 matchup between playoff contenders. The Celtics, on their way to the best record in the Eastern Conference, defeated the Hawks 103-101, but the main storyline came after the game after Schröder accused Isaiah Thomas of making disparaging comments about his mother, which Thomas denied. This was not the first incident between the two, as Thomas was assessed a flagrant foul for hitting Schröder in the face during their 2016 playoff matchup.

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He is one of the most accomplished German basketball players in NBA history

German basketball in the NBA has been synonymous with Dirk Nowitzki for decades, with a long line of big men and forwards standing in the future Hall of Famer’s shadow.

When Schröder joined the league, he became one of the first German guards to play more than 100 games in the NBA; Isaac Bonga is the only one who has matched that mark since. Schröder is now fifth in career games among all German NBA players, third in scoring average, and first in career assists per game.

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