Dennis Schroder and Tony Parker have much in common. The 6-2 speed demons left their homes overseas to join playoff-caliber teams as late first round picks, albeit 12 years apart. Parker, thrown into the fire with the Spurs as a 19-year-old, experienced growing pains early on under Gregg Popovich's watch. Similarly, Schroder spluttered out of the gates as a rookie and looked out of his depth before rounding out into one of the NBA's premier backup point guards.

More than anything, though, Schroder and Parker are products of similar environments. And as Parker's career dwindles down, Schroder would be wise to scrap the Rajon Rondo template that he was cast in early on and learn from one of the greatest foreign-born players of all-time.

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After nine seasons with the Spurs, Mike Budenholzer took over as Hawks head coach in 2013. Within two seasons, he's turned the franchise into an Eastern Conference powerhouse by implementing a selfless system built around crisp ball movement and 3-pointers. Much of his young success as a coach has been through developing the team's young players, too, including the accelerated growth of players like Schroder.

The Hawks wisely deviate from their normal system when Schroder takes the court. They employ him in a heavy dose of pick-and-rolls to maximize his lightning-quick speed. More than half of his possessions were as the ballhandler in pick and rolls last season, compared to just 39.2 percent for starting point guard Jeff Teague. The fallout: Schroder's usage rating was not only the highest of the team but comparable to the likes of Blake Griffin, Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard.

The system Budenholzer has built in Atlanta is similar in many ways to Popovich's, including the way in which he uses his lead guards. While the Spurs continue to pass the torch to Kawhi Leonard, their offense relies on Parker getting into the teeth of the defense and making plays either for himself or others. Likewise, Schroder, with his ability to weave around defenders and get to the rim, built up a similar profile to Parker last season, especially in comparison to other point guards like Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook.

Schroder struggled to control his speed as a rookie, but learned to how reign it in during Budenholzer's second year at the helm. He rubbed shoulders with the league's best drivers statistically, averaging more points per 48 minutes (12.2) than anyone who appeared in 50 games. Ironically, while he continues to expand his game, Schroder learned a few tricks of the trade from Parker.

"I’ve watched a lot of film," Schroder told Grantland when asked about his improvements in the half court. "Watched Tony Parker, especially — how he uses his speed and his ability to go the basket. Every time I watch the film, afterward I try to do the same thing."

Striking the balance between driving all the way to the rim and pulling up remains Schroder's biggest hurdle moving forward. During a hot stretch in the middle of the season, he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he worked diligently to remove a "lurch" in his shooting form by keeping his wrist and

hand in a tighter position. While it helped transform him into a respectable outside shooter, the majority of his makes from distance were wide open — according to, only 11 of his 3-point attempts on the season were within 4 feet of a defender. The closer the defender, the more his shooting percentage hovered around the 30 percent range.

While Schroder knocked down 35.7 percent of his 3-pointers last season, teams such as the Cavaliers dared him to beat them from outside when it mattered the most, forcing him to decide between settling for a jump shot or attack an already established defense. Without the ability to get all the way into the paint or make them pay with a midrange game, Schroder — and the Hawks — struggled to do what they do best by creating open perimeter shots.

Just look at how much space LeBron James, for example, gives Schroder on this possession. He's close enough to make Schroder second guess himself, but not close enough to warrant turning down an open 3-pointer. After a half hearted pump fake, Schroder succumbs and gets nothing but air early in the shot clock.

Parker had similar issues early in his career. While his blurring speed aided him on drives to the rim, Speedy Claxton ate up important minutes during his rookie season by running the show in crunch time. Popovich even pursued Jason Kidd in 2003 to bring a more complete point guard to the table. It wasn't until 2005, when Chip Engelland reconstructed his shot, that Parker began his transformation into the player we know today. He ditched the 3-point shot altogether to focus on his midrange game, and it catapulted him to new heights.

"I couldn’t hit a shot at the beginning of my career," Parker told the Houston Chronicle. "When I start making the outside jumper on a consistent basis, that’s when I was more consistent with my performance."

As a change of pace guard off the bench who can break defenses down, having a player of Schroder's talent has tremendous value in today's NBA. Despite a dismal showing in the playoffs, he proved that last season when he got some Sixth Man of the Year Award love.

Schroder has the potential to be more than that, though, and an improved in-between game would open up a world of possibilities. After shooting 29.3 percent on 41 midrange attempts as a rookie, he made 34.8 percent of his 155 attempts last season — the seeds for growth are present. He's already picked up a thing or two from Parker.

Now, it's time to start piecing the rest of the puzzle together.