OKC Thunder Lightning Report: Inside Dennis Schroder’s evolution

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, OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)

How Dennis Schroder is blossoming in his new role with the OKC Thunder.

Before coming to the OKC Thunder, Dennis Schroder ‘s value was complicated, to say the least. He wasn’t damaged goods nor was he a true locker room cancer, but his reputation had taken a few hits.

Right off the bat, his style seemed almost irreconcilable with winning basketball and was a big reason the Atlanta Hawks were looking to move a 24-year-old. While he was productive, he came with a few tiny issues. He came across arrogant with the potential to cause locker room rifts, his contract was viewed as a massive overpay with no end in sight, and he appeared to have reached his ceiling with his play stagnating.

Even with all those concerns, there was good reason to believe in his future if he landed on the right team. He wasn’t built to be the guy, but he could be a fantastic third option. He wasn’t an elite playmaker but next to someone who was, would flourish. He never gave his all defensively, but on a team where that exact thing is emphasized, could follow suit. That’s at least what Sam Presti was hoping when he traded the corpse of Carmelo Anthony and a protected 2022 first-round pick to Atlanta for Schroder.

It was a definite risk that came with more questions than answers and it was unclear how he’d react to a much smaller role on a team with an established hierarchy let alone whether his game would fit in the first place. But it was worth taking for a team without much upside to tap into.

The early returns on that trade are looking pretty good for the OKC Thunder. Here’s how he adapted his game, and why he’s become an important piece for Oklahoma City.

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