INDIANAPOLIS -- Dennis Schroder entered the NBA in 2013 as a flashy point guard from Germany. As a floor general who is small yet quick and gifted with supreme vision to set up his teammates, prospect comparisons to Rajon Rondo fluttered. After his rookie season, the 6'1" guard, who was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks, was everything he was predicted to be.
However, after a blockbuster trade that shipped Carmelo Anthony out of Oklahoma City, Schroder was sent to the Thunder. The biggest difference? They already had a franchise point guard in Russell Westbrook.
And so, after starting his career as a budding star point guard, he was now placed in a bench role and an off-the-ball role.
Fast-forward another season, and now the Thunder swapped Westbrook for future Hall-of-Fame point guard Chris Paul. Schroder is still not the primary ball-handler and has to play an off-the-ball role most of the time, something that was an initial adjustment, but he learned how to adapt.
"It's different," Schroder told The Big Lead after the Thunder lost to the Pacers on Tuesday night. "I had to get used to it last year."
During his final season with the Hawks, Schroder was 12th in the NBA in usage rate. For reference, he had a higher usage rate than Kevin Durant, Kemba Walker and Victor Oladipo. After joining the Thunder last season, he had a usage rate that fell to 50th in the NBA, lower then forwards such as Marvin Bagley, Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins.
That's a significant change for someone used to having the ball in their hands.
"I think I found it," he said. "Team player. Just try to help the team win games. I think I adjusted. Now we got a new system, everybody is touching it more, ball movement is better."
While he has taken a back seat, he is still just 26-years-old and entering his prime years. The knowledge that can be gained from two of the greatest players ever to play the position is invaluable in his current role, or if the opportunity ever arises to be a team's primary point guard.
He has learned from the best.
"With Chris Paul already the leadership, he's been talking to us," Schroder said. "Russell [Westbrook] just what he does every day; his rhythm, what he does on and off the court is fantastic."
The Thunder (4-7) will have the day off tomorrow before returning to action at home on Friday. They are still seeking their first road win.