With the defending champions, the Los Angeles Lakers losing in the first round to the Phoenix Suns, a lot of talk and criticism has come their way, leaving every player open to getting a lot of hate from the fans, analysts, and even former NBA greats. One of the most notable ones who received that criticism is their point guard Dennis Schroder. Of course, we all knew LeBron James would get his fair share of the blame, and well deservingly, but the team around him also underperformed and got called out for it.
One of the greatest players ever, former Lakers point guard and president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, had some choice words for Schroder after the Lakers got eliminated:
"Schroder, I don't think he's a Laker. That's just my opinion. I don't know if they're gonna sign him back or not. I don't think he brings the winning mentality and attitude that we need, and he had a chance to show that in this series, and to me, he failed in this series. But again, if he comes back a Laker, I'm gonna support him, I'm gonna cheer for him and all that, but I just don't think he's a Laker."
Magic Johnson, via AM 570 LA Sports
As he was constructing the same roster not so long ago, it is evident Magic isn't happy with the Laker's choice of Schroder in the point guard position. So Dennis was brought into the group as a welcomed addition, a secondary ball-handler and creator that would take over the offense when LeBron rests and help him get easier baskets when playing together.
Considering he was coming off quite possibly the best year of his career, playing in the role of the 6th man for the Thunder and providing instant offense off the bench, the Lakers expected a lot from Schroder, making him the starting point guard for the whole season. He had his ups and downs through the year but ended up being pretty underwhelming, averaging 15.4 ppg and 5.8 apg on 43.7% from the floor.
Those numbers would dip in the playoffs, as Schroder failed to step up in the absence of Anthony Davis, averaging only 14.3 ppg and 2.8 apg, on 40% from the floor versus the Suns. The most notable performance came in a crucial Game 5, in which Schroder was left scoreless, shooting 0-9 from the field. It would be a fitting end of a challenging and turbulent season for the Lakers, as Schroder's future in LA is highly uncertain. He will be entering free agency, as he rejected a 4y/84$ million extension in hopes of getting an even better offer in the offseason. But after the playoff performance, Schroder presented to the world, that will be a pretty challenging task.