Dennis Schröder is finally a real leader

It’s almost three years to the day that Dennis Schröder was at the lowest point of his national team career. In the World Cup in China, the German team surprisingly lost to the Dominican Republic and failed in the preliminary round. Schröder and his teammates stood on the floor of the stadium in Shenzhen and became – not entirely unfairly – the main target of criticism. In 2019 he is the most talented German player and the point guard he directs the team, sets the pace and style. In China, the German game is characterized by a terrible lack of imagination. Either Schröder tries it alone or he finds a pick and roll with his friend Daniel Theis.

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The two Braunschweig NBA professionals are still a key part of the national team, but that’s where the similarities to 2019 end. Because the first day of the EM home in Cologne is one big party for German basketball – and Schröder plays an important role in it as a pacesetter. After the opening victory against France, there was success against Bosnia and after extra time. twice against Lithuania. Three victories to start the European Championship, selection of the German Basketball Federation (DBB) is not possible with Dirk Nowitzki.

Schröder and Co. Has secured one of the first four places in the group of the preliminary round with Olympic vice-champion France, European champion Slovenia and basketball country Lithuania. “It means a lot for us to go to Berlin in such a difficult group. That was our goal. It’s amazing that we achieved this,” Schröder said. The final will take place next weekend in the Arena am Ostbahnhof. As DBB announced on Sunday, the German team will compete in the Round of 16 on Saturday at 6 p.m. The opponent has not yet been determined and comes from group A. By winning against Slovenia and NBA superstar Luka Doncic on Tuesday (20.30 pm, free at Magentasport), the German team will be the group winner.

Schröder has gone through remarkable changes in recent years. His commitment to the national team was never in question; Whenever he could, he was there in the summer. But his body language now is completely different. He used to seem annoyed that his teammates weren’t always at the level he was used to in the NBA and that he expected. He also found it difficult to delegate responsibility.

His life is certainly smaller today than in the previous competition and his appearance with a lot of bling bling continues to divide opinion, but Schröder seems to became a leader. It is very noticeable how he encourages his teammates on the field, but also in interviews. He described Maodo Lo as “the next German in the NBA”. He also praised Franz Wagner, who stood out against Lithuania, in the highest voice. “If he continues like this, he will become an adult.”

Dennis Schröder (left), Franz Wagner (right) and Maodo Lo execute the offense of the German national basketball team.
© Marius Becker/dpa

Schröder understood that he could not lead the team through the big tournament alone and better integrated with his teammates. Lo and Wagner are the most talented scorers next to him, but the rest of the team depends on Christian Sengfelder, who has not yet been used. The decision of the national coach Gordon Herbert to promote Schröder as captain after the controversy of Robin Benzing was completely gone. “Dennis is our leader. He is the lynchpin of our team and he has gained more experience than last year,” said Lo. “German basketball is lucky to have Dennis Schröder.”

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In terms of play, the 28-year-old now understands better than to step forward from time to time. Schröder also likes the ball in his own hands and is one of the fastest basketball players in the world. Now he has found a good combination of his own movement in the basket and the use of teammates. A few years ago, it would have been difficult to imagine that Lo could find one-on-one attacks in two consecutive attacks, as he did against Lithuania during the extra time decision. Wagner also benefits from the fact that Schröder opens up space for him with his speed and then gives the ball willingly. A minor point of criticism remains Schröder’s garbage selection. In three games he has already tried 19 three-pointers and only hit a measly three of them.

However, his negotiating position in the NBA should be improved due to a strong performance at EM. Schröder’s contract with the Houston Rockets expires at the end of last season, and as a free agent he can negotiate with other teams. But for now, only the European championship counts for Dennis Schröder. (with dpa)

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