Photo: Los Angeles Lakers/Twitter

Earlier this offseason, Dennis Schroder parted ways with the Los Angeles Lakers to join the Toronto Raptors.

The 29-year-old German point guard, fresh off leading his national team to a gold medal at the recent FIBA World Cup, and being named the tournament’s MVP, opened about choosing the Raptors.

The decision to head north of the border was not taken lightly by Schroder. He cited two significant factors that played a pivotal role in his choice: the appointment of new Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic and the promise of a more prominent role within the team.

Schroder’s relationship with Coach Rajakovic dates back five years to their time together in Oklahoma City. The point guard was impressed with Rajakovic’s coaching style and their strong rapport. When the opportunity arose to reunite with his former coach, Schroder was eager to seize it.

“I think Darko, the head coach, this is his first year as a head coach as well. I met him 5 years ago, I think, in OKC. We became friends. I liked how he was coaching myself and the team.

“He called me right away when he took over, and I definitely said to my agent, ‘I wanna be there, I wanna be a part of that.’ I think it’s a great fit,” Schroder shared during an appearance on NBA Today.

Moreover, Schroder emphasized his desire for a more substantial role on the Raptors, one that aligns with his strengths on the court.

He envisions contributing in a manner reminiscent of his play with the national team—handling the ball, pushing the pace, and actively impacting the team’s defense.

“Just to play like the national team type and handle the ball a little ball, go out and run, on the defensive end active and just run up our defense. I think it’s a great fit,” he said.