Dwight Howard is not exactly known for graceful departures, and that was proven true once again on Thursday.
After Howard and the Charlotte Hornets defeated his former team, the Atlanta Hawks, by the final of 129-117, Hawks guard Dennis Schroder threw some shade at the former All-Star for his lack of consistent effort.
“He plays always great against his former team,” said Schroder, according to Hawks writer KL Chouinard. “Credit to him too, but that’s like four games each year, you know? Houston, LA, us. I think he’s always giving his best there but the other games he [shrugs].”
For what it’s worth, Howard finished Thursday’s game with a season-high 33 points (exactly double his average of 16.5 points per game) and 12 rebounds.
Schroder and Howard were only teammates together on the Hawks for one season before the latter was dealt to Charlotte last summer. But considering the negative perception that has followed the three-time Defensive Player of the Year seemingly everywhere that he has gone, it’s hard to be surprised that his former teammates might not think too highly of him.
The mother of all NBA seasons is almost here. So as you finalize your League Pass subscriptions, complete your fantasy drafts, and prepare the guacamole for your watch parties, take some time to ponder the true meaning of the season — specifically, the benevolent stars who make such a joyous holiday possible with their prodigious athletic talents.
Here I present, each NBA team’s most important player heading into 2017-18:
Atlanta Hawks — Dennis Schroder, PG
“All my friends are dead,” said Schroder in his best Lil Uzi Vert voice as he gazed upon his roster following the respective exits of his last remaining All-Star teammates in Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard this summer. Yes, the Hawks are now as thin as a toothpick, and the incentive for them to “Do Badly for Bagley” or “Make The Fans Puka for Luka” will be enormous. But someone has to lead this JV squad, and their resident German is as good of an option as any. Perhaps we will see Dennis the Menace gun for 20 and 10. Maybe he develops some nice pick-and-roll chemistry with new additions Dewayne Dedmon and rookie John Collins. Perhaps he finally bleaches his entire head blonde. Anything to give this team a modicum of watchability this season.
Boston Celtics — Kyrie Irving
After selling an arm, a leg, and a hip for him this summer, the Celtics will hope that Irving’s performance in his first season with them does not fall flat. The outside noise in Uncle Drew’s ear will be deafening — mockery of his decision to ditch LeBron James and go off in search of his own empire, jeers at the perceived stagnation of his playmaking skills, pervasive meme treatments of his unorthodox views on astronomy. But Irving is here for one reason and one reason only: to ball out. And that’s what he’s gonna do. Just remember kids, there’s no such thing as distractions when you’re very much woke. [mic drop]
Atlanta Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder was arrested early Friday morning and charged with battery, according to a report.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN was told by sources that Schroder was charged with misdemeanor battery for his alleged involvement in an incident that took place in an Atlanta suburb.
Wojnarowski’s report stated that Schroder was arrested on Thursday, but the Hawks released a statement indicating the incident took place Friday. The team said it is in the process of gathering information.
“We are aware of an incident involving Dennis Schroder earlier this morning,” the statement read. “We are still gathering information as it pertains to the situation, and out of respect for the legal process, we will have no further comment at this time.”
Schroder, a first-round pick of the Hawks in 2013, had a breakout season last year. He averaged 17.9 points and 6.3 assists per game. He also led the Hawks by averaging 24.7 points in the postseason.
The Eastern Conference playoff series between the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards has been a bit heated at times, with point guards John Wall and Dennis Schroder occasionally trading words.
Schroder admitted Saturday that if it were up to his coach, Mike Budenholzer, there’d be a lot less talking and a lot more emulating one of the league’s quieter superstars.
It’s hard to blame Budenholzer for wanting to cut this stuff off, particularly when you consider the comments made recently by one of his other players. Wall is hard enough to stop with complete focus, and it can only get tougher if you start playing those games with him.
Dennis Schroder was benched for almost the entire second half of Monday night’s loss to the Golden State Warriors, and the Atlanta Hawks point guard would like a word with his coach about it.
Schroder was pulled from the game immediately following a verbal exchange with teammate Dwight Howard. The argument came after Howard turned the ball over on a bad pass with the Hawks leading 70-69. As Schroder and Howard debated about what went wrong, Stephen Curry quickly dribbled down the court and buried a 3-pointer.
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, who was heard telling Schroder “that’s what I’m talking about” after Curry hit the 3-pointer, called the decision to bench Schroder despite his 23 first-half points a coach’s decision.
“Just us staying together is the bigger point,” Budenholzer told reporters, via Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We’ve got to stay together and find a way to move on to the next play. Those things are important.”
Schroder conceded that the play where he was arguing with Howard “can’t happen,” but he said he would like an explanation from Budenholzer.
“I don’t understand coach’s decision. I want to be on the court,” Schroder said. “Maybe I’m too competitive. I’m just trying to be competitive and win games. We have to figure it out, me and coach. I want to talk about it. Dwight’s got to be in there too. Get on the same page.”
Howard said he would be open to such a meeting.
“Listen, we are a team right?” he said. “It’s OK if we have conversations. It’s not always conflict when you have a conversation with your coach or a team meeting. That’s what you are supposed to do. By him wanting to have a meeting, it’s great. It’s great for our team. It’s great for each other. We’re all open to it. It’s not always bad when you have a conversation.”
The Hawks ended up losing 119-111, which was their sixth loss in their last eight games. They are currently 34-29 and hold the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Schroder was recently suspended one game by the Hawks for an irresponsible decision following the All-Star break, so it’s possible Budenholzer is simply running out of patience with him.
Dennis Schröder’s second half of the season is off to an inauspicious start.
The Atlanta Hawks announced on Friday that they have suspended the German point guard without pay for one game for “failure to report to the team on time after the All-Star break.” Schröder will serve the suspension when the Hawks host the Miami Heat tonight.
According to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Schröder traveled to his native Germany over the break and encountered a visa problem upon attempting to return the US.
With Jeff Teague no longer in the mix, the 23-year-old Schröder has been having a career year as the Hawks’ starting point guard with averages of 17.5 points and 6.3 assists per game. The team made a big financial commitment to him last offseason, so hopefully this is just a one-off incident.
Dennis Schröder and Isaiah Thomas are picking up right where they left off in their first-round playoff series last April.
After Thomas hit a game-winner with 2.4 seconds left to lift his Boston Celtics to a 103-101 road victory over Schröder’s Atlanta Hawks on Friday, Schröder put Thomas on blast, claiming that the All-Star point guard cursed at his mother in the stands during the game.
“I’m playing basketball,” Schröder said, per Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “If he think that he got to curse at my mom or say some dumb stuff about my family, that has nothing to do with basketball. That’s his choice. I’ve got too much class for that. Next one, we are going to get it.”
For his part, Thomas vehemently denied the claims on Twitter afterwards.
The two players have a noted history with one another, dating back to their quarterfinal matchup last postseason. Thomas hit Schröder with a forearm in Game 3 of that series (video here) but claimed that the blow was unintentional. The NBA chose not to suspend Thomas for the incident, a decision that made Schröder “feel disrespected.”
Friday’s meeting was the first between the Celtics and the Hawks since that playoff series last year, and it’s clear that this latest alleged incident has only increased the bad blood between the two opposing point guards.
The Atlanta Hawks just made a big-time commitment to their presumptive point guard of the future.
According to a report by Zach Lowe and Marc Stein of ESPN on Wednesday, Hawks point guard Dennis Schröder has agreed to a four-year, $70 million contract extension with the team.
Schröder, 23, averaged 11.0 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game for Atlanta last season coming off the bench behind Jeff Teague. But those numbers are almost certain to improve by leaps and bounds now that Schröder is the team’s unquestioned starting floor general after Teague was traded to the Indiana Pacers in June.
Schröder’s new deal is comparable in terms of average annual value amongst point guards to those of Goran Dragic (in Year 2 of a five-year, $85 million contract) and Reggie Jackson (Year 2 of a five-year, $80 million contract).
Opportunity knocks for Schröder in 2016-17, but it still remains to be seen how he’ll be able to make the transition to a full-time starter. Nevertheless, Atlanta was apparently unwilling to let Schröder become a restricted free agent come the summer, hammering out an extension just days before the October 31 deadline. That signals an immense vote of confidence in the German’s abilities as the Hawks move forward with their current core.
Image Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
There are some times when NBA players hit the jackpot and find the rare nexus where talent, opportunity, and circumstance all intersect. You can have all the talent in the Western Hemisphere, but with no opportunity and poor circumstantial luck, you’re basically rookie-year D’Angelo Russell: imprisoned in a cell built entirely out of parting Kobe Bryant bricks and guarded by Byron Scott’s folded arms.
With ample opportunity but questionable talent and equally questionable circumstance, you’ll faceplant and find yourself in The Anthony Bennett Zone, forever haunted by The Ghost of No. 1 Overall Picks Past. Talent and circumstance without opportunity turns you into pre-Enes-Kanter-trade Rudy Gobert or worse, Darko Milicic: selected No. 2 overall by a championship-caliber Detroit Pistons team but perpetually thumb-tacked to the end of their bench and finding himself cursing the mothers of European referees just four years later.
Even talent and opportunity sans circumstance guarantees you nothing if, say, you’re drafted onto a Washington Wizards team run by a competitive maniac named Michael Jordan, who shatters your psyche and your confidence in yourself from the moment you enter the league (sorry, Kwame).
But for these five players, the stars will align in 2016-17, and they’ll find themselves in prime position to achieve what so many before them for whatever reason couldn’t: a full-fledged breakout year.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Rather surprisingly, the NBA elected not to suspend Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas for hitting Atlanta’s Dennis Schroder in the head during game three of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Schroder in particular isn’t too impressed with that decision.
Thomas wasn’t even whistled at the time (click here to see the incident) and was assessed a flagrant-1 foul instead of a suspension, which means he’ll be good to go for game four.
After practice on Saturday, Schroder expressed his displeasure with the NBA’s decision.
“I still feel disrespected [about] what he did,” Schroder said, via ESPN’s Chris Forsberg. “I just scored a basket and tried to go back on defense and he smacked me. It had nothing to do with basketball.
“We talked with the referees before the playoffs, and what they told us is what he did to me yesterday is a suspension. I can’t control it. It is on the [league memo] and Coach [Mike Budenholzer] told us that we can’t do this, we can’t do that, it is going to be a suspension.”
Thomas obviously took a differing view.
“It was the right call,” Thomas said. “I’m really focused on Game 4, but I’m glad I wasn’t suspended.”
Thomas did admit that he was worried that he’d miss game four after the uproar about the play following the game.
“How much [the Hawks] were complaining about it, yeah,” Thomas said. “I’m focused on Game 4, man. They made the call of what it was, a flagrant-1, whatever it was. I’m glad I’m able to play.”
Considering former NBA VP Stu Jackson thought Thomas would be suspended, he can probably count himself a bit lucky to get away with this. Schroder himself sounded off in a since-deleted tweet about how Thomas got away with hitting him in the head. Hard to blame him for his displeasure.