“I met him 5 years ago in OKC, we became friends and I like how he was coaching myself and the team. He called me right away when he took over and I said to my agent that I wanted to be there, I wanted to be a part of that. I think it’s a great fit, play like in the national team: handling the ball a little bit more, go out and run”, he shared this week on ESPN’s NBA Today.
“I think Darko [Rajakovic], the head coach… I met him 5 years ago in OKC. We became friends… I definitely said to my agent, ‘I want be there.’ … I think it’s a great fit.”
Dennis Schroder on why he left the Lakers for the Raptors this summer.pic.twitter.com/fQMqTW7akX
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) September 13, 2023
The 29-year-old guard led his nation with averages of 19.1 points and 6.1 assists per match in this recent FIBA World Cup, and conquered the tournament’s title after an impressive 28-point performance in the final against Serbia.
The playmaker, who was selected as the 17th pick in the 2013 Draft by the Atlanta Hawks, went on to wear the jerseys of Oklahoma City Thunder, Boston Celtics, and two spells with the purple and gold franchise. With the Lakers, Schroder averaged 12.6 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game all throughout the 2022/23 campaign.
After committing to the Germany national squad for a decade and finally achieving history together, he admitted that it felt like a long time coming. “It’s been a long wait”, Dennis said after being crowned champions.
“I have been here for 10 years and to be here now, after last year’s bronze medal. It’s an unbelievable group. Coach did a great job of bringing us together, the best to be successful, being 8-0. In a group where we had big-time teams getting to the next stage playing Georgia and Slovenia, it was unbelievable and stayed perfect until the end. That’s a blessing. The people in the locker rooms, my family, my kids, my wife,” he expressed.
Schroder shared how proud he feels to accomplish what Dirk Nowitzki once did during his Hall of Fame basketball career
Eventually, Nowitzki’s name had to make it to the conversation, as the German playmaker revealed how important it has been to build a relationship with him ever since his first years playing basketball.
“Of course, Dirk Nowitzki is one of the best power forwards ever, he changed the game of basketball, an NBA champion, cool guy outside the court. It was great to play with him in 2015. But we couldn’t have done it without being a team. So kudos to everyone,” he said.
Even though the 29-year-old clearly idolized Nowitzki, he shared that he wasn’t his main inspiration as he grew up watching the NBA.
“I would lie if I say growing up I was looking up to him. I was watching players like Mike Conley, Tony Parker and Chris Paul,” Schroder was sincere. “But when I went to the NBA and had a workout in Dallas, he met me and said to me ‘Take my number, text me, call me’. Since then we have had a great relationship, nothing but love for him”.