Warning: Video contains a few NSFW words.
MVP Jonas Valanciunas and the tournament champion Golden State Warriors garnered most of the broad media attention afforded to the NBA's recently concluded Las Vegas Summer League, but one rookie stood out as a particularly entertaining and promising young player. In five games, Atlanta Hawks rookie Dennis Schroder, a 19-year-old German point guard taken with the 17th pick in June's draft, showed impressive ability as a floor leader and defender. He averaged 10.8 points and 5.6 assists in 31.6 minutes, but it was the style in which he did it that stood out. Schroeder looked like someone with an advanced feel for the game.
Plus, as this highlight video from SB Nation (via TBJ) shows, his assist numbers probably should have been a good deal higher. Over nearly five minutes, watch some great passes from Schroder that didn't lead to assists for various reasons outside of his control. It's all set to the Violent Femmes' classic "Add It Up," just to make the frustration all the more apparent.
The quality that comes through in this clip is Schroder's willingness to wait for a play to develop. In a recent post at Eye on Basketball, Zach Harper explained why Schroder stood out among other rookies at Summer League:
Schroeder seems to have this innate sense of spacial awareness when he's on the court that makes his passing so deadly against the smoke and mirrors of him running a pick-and-roll. The goal is to stop the ball and slow it down. But with Schroeder, he's rarely looking to advance it past the point of when it opens up something for his teammates. Not to mention, his timing in these situations is pretty stellar. [...]
With the 17th pick of the 2013 NBA Draft, you're seeing decision-making that comes from a young man who is confident and rarely rattled. His patience allows him to keep the defense guessing even a split-second longer than normal, which can throw off the rhythm of their rotations.
Schroder still has a long way to go — he's not a particularly good shooter or scorer, turns it over fairly often, and could stand to add some strength. However, he's already shown rare skills for a 19-year-old. Now that Jeff Teague is back in Atlanta for the foreseeable future, Schroder will have a chance to develop as a bench contributor on a likely lottery team with little pressure on him to succeed right away. The Hawks and their fans have reason to be excited.