As an overall talent, Dennis Schroder is the best player on this list. As a Celtic, he made about as much sense as snow in July.
Schroder signed with the Celtics ahead of the 2021-22 season on a one-year “prove it” deal for $5.9 million. The German point guard wore green for 49 games, but he never became a consistent fit with Boston.
On paper, Schroder put up solid numbers with the Cs as he averaged 14.4 points on 44% shooting. He also poured in 18.6 points per game across 25 contests as a starter. Even so, the Celtics only went 12-13 in those games.
On the other hand, Boston held a 16-8 record – a near 55-win pace – when Schroder came off the bench. The former Hawk averaged 23.5 minutes as a member of the second unit, a far cry from his 34.8 minutes per game when starting. Simply put, Boston’s overall success increased as Schroder’s playing time decreased.
Boston was a losing team with Schroder on the floor
While his counting stats met the eye test, Schroder’s on-court impact did not. In a season where Boston finished with 51 wins and reached the NBA Finals, the Cs performed as poorly as they could have when Schroder took the floor. Dennis the Menace posted a subpar -6.6 on/off differential as Boston outscored opponents by 6.6 fewer points with Schroder on the court, per Cleaning the Glass.
Although they ranked second in net rating by the end of the season with a +7.5 mark, Boston got outscored by 2.3 points per 100 possessions with Schroder. Essentially, Schroder swung the Celtics from a winning team to a losing team when his number was called.
Schroder’s playstyle plagued his ability to gel with the team and make a consistent impact. His unwillingness to promote ball movement totally contradicted the best version of the Celtics. While players like Marcus Smart and Derrick White often moved without the basketball, Schroder made life easy on opposing defenses by doing the opposite. When he brought the ball up the floor and passed it to a teammate, the German often stayed put at the top of the key.
Boston’s best brand of basketball leaned on motion offense and ball movement — two areas of the game Schroder’s playstyle did not mesh well with.
With Schroder, the 2021-22 Boston Celtics played at a 47-win pace with a 28-21 record. Boston only lost 31 games that year, meaning Schroder was present for 67.7% of Boston’s losses in a season where he actually left the team at the February deadline. Without Schroder, the Celtics only suffered 10 losses and played at a ridiculous 57-win pace with a 23-10 mark.
After trading Schroder, the 17-time champions finished the regular season with a flourish, winning 20 of their last 26 games before a sensational Finals run.