Lakers Rumors: Dennis Schroder Could Come Off Bench; LA Hasn't Settled on Lineup

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2020

Oklahoma City Thunder's Dennis Schroder (17) looks downcourt during the first half of an NBA first-round playoff basketball game against the Houston Rockets on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Training camp hasn't started yet, and the Los Angeles Lakers may already have a personnel issue.

Dennis Schroder told reporters Monday that he does not want to come off the bench for the defending champs.

"I did this off-the-bench stuff already in two years with OKC," Schroder said. "I think I try to move forward, and I think with [Anthony Davis] and LeBron, I can be helpful as a starter in the PG position."

The 27-year-old finished second in the Sixth Man of the Year voting last season, playing behind Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the guard rotation. 

Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported the Lakers have not committed to Schroder being part of the starting lineup. Schroder said he has not spoken to coach Frank Vogel about his spot in the rotation, but his agent did talk to the Lakers about his desire to start before they acquired him.

One small issue with Schroder's plan to be a starter: It doesn't make sense from the team's perspective.

The Lakers won a championship last season with LeBron James serving as the nominal point guard, and it seems likely they would want to follow a similar path next season. A lineup of James, Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Wesley Matthews/Alex Caruso appears to be the likeliest scenario.

Schroder would then take the Rajon Rondo role of lead ball-handler off the bench, running pick-and-rolls with Montrezl Harrell as perhaps the most dynamic one-two punch in the NBA among reserves. 

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Schroder was fine playing without the ball in OKC, first alongside Russell Westbrook and then Paul, but that's not why the Lakers acquired him. James and Schroder are the only two players on the roster capable of a lead ball-handler role. 

Based on his public quotes, it appears the Lakers might already need to get Schroder in line with what's best for the team. 

"I can bring it up, call a set play or whatever and put [LeBron] in a position to score. I think him to play off the ball, I mean, is I think great. I think that's the reason why they brought me in," Schroder said.

There will be instances when James and Schroder share the court, and it's possible Schroder even gets to occasionally play the lead. That said, no one believes taking the ball out of James' hands and placing it into Schroder's is a better recipe for winning basketball.