Dennis Schroder Makes A Case for Thunder MVP
Dennis Schroder's story with the Oklahoma City Thunder starts two summers ago when he was traded from the Atlanta Hawks for Carmelo Anthony. The Thunder already had a point guard (Raymond Felton) to back up Russell Westbrook, was Schroder (and his $15.5 million a year contract) being brought in only to be shipped off for some much needed outside shooting?
No, Schroder was being brought in to take Felton's minutes. Weather Sam Presti Couldn't find a trading partner, or he saw a potential starter in case he had to deal Westbrook; for at least one season, Schroder was going to be an integral part of the Thunder's plan.
Schroder got the chance to start 14 games, but his points and shooting percentage took a dip from his career average. If Schroder was unhappy in his role, he never said anything publicly. Fast forward to July 2019, Westbrook is traded to Houston, Chris Paul is brought in, and a few weeks earlier, Sahi Gilgeous-Alexander found his way to Oklahoma City via Paul George.
The Thunder seemed to be destined for a re-build, and collecting draft picks for ready-made players was the fastest way to get the organization back on track. Surely, Schroder would be worth at least a late first-round selection.
Not to mention, clearing Schroder's salary off the books would help the Thunder get out of the luxury tax. It seemed like a foregone conclusion that at some point in 2019-2020, Schroder would be wearing a new uniform.
Thank goodness that trade never came. Schroder is playing with a renewed sense of energy despite coming off the bench every game but one.
Schroeder has lead all Thunder reserves in scoring 57 of 62 games, and all Oklahoma City scorers in 20 games. His shining moment (sorry Luther) came when he helped the Thunder become the first team in 20 years overcome deficits of 24 plus points in back to back games.
In December, Schroder nets 31 leading Oklahoma City to a 126-122 win over Memphis. In case you forgot; Schroder, gave Oklahoma City a one-point lead with 8:15 left when he hit a 15-foot pull-up floater in the lane, making the score 105-104.
Schroder, the hero, almost became a goat when Jae Crowder stripped him with 28.9 seconds left. Luckily for Schroder, Steven Adams was on the other end to rebound a Brandon Clarke missed layup.
Schroder would hit four free-throws in the closing seconds to cap off the comeback. Chris Paul says the Schroder's performance was inspiring.
"On a night where we don't sort of have the energy, don't have the mojo, setting over there watching how hard he was playing forced everyone to get on board." Schroder is also a significant part of the Thunder's closing lineup that features three point guards.
Per Sports Illustrated: "The trio is outscoring teams by a whopping 28.6 points per 100 possessions in 2019-20, and the Thunder are among the most efficient clutch offenses in the league. Schroder has been an absolute revelation, with his strong season even more surprising than that of Gilgeous-Alexander and Paul."
Schroder is in the sixth man of the year race; most of SI's experts have him winning the award over the Clippers Lou Willimas. If you're looking for a good debate with your friends put out on social media that you think Schroder is Thunder's MVP over Chris Paul.
You won't be wrong, and hopefully, we've given you some ammunition for argument.
How much consideration would you give Dennis Schroder for Thunder MVP? Click the comment box below.