Ironclad Job Security is something most of us would love to have. The problem is, it’s not easy to come by. Unless, your name is Dennis Schroder, and your boss happens to be your good friend Darvin Ham. Evidently that gives you carte blanche. Inconsistent play, looking off open players, and even quitting on a play haven’t been enough to effect his minutes on the court. Apparently he is untouchable.
Unfortunately, there’s one big problem with this. Darvin Ham claimed in his opening press conference that it would be “Facts over feelings”. Obviously, that was a not exactly true. It seems friendship over facts may be closer to the truth.
Moreover, this relationship between Darvin and Dennis goes all the way back to their days in Atlanta. So, it’s not exactly a new found friendship.
Loyalty is a good thing, but it can also be damaging if it overrides the team ethic you set out to uphold. Especially when that player is making the veteran minimum salary and your mid-level exception player is languishing on the bench. Essentially a wasted asset. It just doesn’t make sense from a business standpoint unless the player was much younger and had a much greater upside. Sorry Dennis, but that’s just not the case here.
This leaves all us fans with a question. Is this loyalty to Dennis worth it?
Ironclad Buddies From Way Back
Darvin Ham and Dennis Schroder both arrived in Atlanta at the same time, in 2013. Consequently, it’s been more than a decade since these bonds of friendship started forming. This is not new by any means. There are multiple reports about their relationship. They went to dinner together often and called each other frequently. Just like any friends would.
It’s not the friendship that is the problem here though. The problem is that Darvin Ham promised a meritocracy and instead he’s letting his friendship with one player override that principle. He has a really short leash for other players. So it’s not like we don’t see it in practice with everyone else. We just want to know why this one inconsistent player is not being given the same treatment. It’s only fair to wonder why. It just doesn’t seem right.
The Bi-Polar Nature That Has Fans So Frustrated
In one just tweet, our very own Guru sums up his bi-polar nature. This collection of stats is from the Oklahoma city game. The same game he turned his ankle and then played like a man possessed in the fourth quarter. If that doesn’t speak volumes to the great swings and compromises that come with playing Dennis this many minutes, I’m not sure what does. He’s a grab bag, you never know what you’re going to get. That’s also not just night to night but play to play sometimes.
Despite this bi-polar nature Darvin Ham still thinks way too highly of him. He was quoted as saying he thinks Dennis could start on “Seventy Percent of teams in this league”. Common sense and his salary say different though. In any case, it doesn’t look like Ham will come to his senses anytime soon. Austin Reaves Minutes keep shrinking, and Dennis hold on his minutes is still ironclad. It’s a dilemma that could be the difference between whether this new team sinks or swims in this final playoff push.
Dennis Is Not Irreplaceable
The argument against not cutting Dennis’ minutes is not a very good one either. His playmaking is not irreplaceable, as some would have you believe. There is a small drop-off going to Reaves, but Reaves is younger and has a higher upside. As a second year player he will have some off games, but the trade off for that is that he will continue to develop and get better.
Dennis is what he is, and has already peaked as a player. There is no better trade off with playing him all these minutes. Not to mention that it is very likely he won’t even be here in Los Angeles, past this season. It just doesn’t make sense to invest these minutes in him instead of one of their younger players.
I guess Lakers fans will just have to pray it all works out though, because it doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon.
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