Boston Celtics: Daniel Theis providing team with intensity off of the bench

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 24: Daniel Theis
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 24: Daniel Theis /

Boston Celtics rookie Daniel Theis is quietly putting together a solid season for the green, providing high energy and athleticism off the bench.

This past offseason was a whirlwind for the Boston Celtics, who brought in a plethora of new faces and let go of many familiar ones as well.

While fans and media members were captivated by Boston’s big name acquisitions – Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, and Jayson Tatum – the green quietly signed a 6′ 9″ big man from the EuroLeague, Daniel Theis. The 25 year old was initially overlooked by many, but his presence is already paying dividends for the Celtics.

The 2017 Basketball Bundesliga Best Defender Award Recipient has had some clutch performances as a key member of the team’s rotation. After averaging 9.6 PPG , 4.6 RPG, and 0.9 BPG as a member of Brose Bamberg last year, he has put up averages of 5.9 points, 5.0 Rebounds, and 0.9 blocks per game in his first NBA season. Theis may not have eye-popping stats, but he has had a significant impact as an intense defender and a finisher.

High-Energy Defense

Theis’ toughness and high motor have made him a seamless fit into Boston’s defensive-minded culture. Plays like this epitomize his high-energy style of basketball, which has helped the Celtics have one of the best defenses in the Association:

The Celtics have been a great defensive team on the perimeter for the past few years, but their lack of a dominant interior presence was a weakness that plagued them last year. This year is a completely different story, as they have an embarrassment of riches in that department thanks to Theis and recently signed center Aron Baynes.

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The team’s depth on the inside has even helped elevate Al Horford’s defensive presence, as Horford now does not have to carry as much of a load on defense and is able to form a stifling 1-2 punch with whoever he pairs with in the front court.

Theis’ rebounding has also been part of the reason that the team has been exponentially better on the glass this season.

Efficient Finishing and Potential on Offense 

Theis isn’t necessarily the most creative offensive player, but he has a knack for getting open near the basket and converting powerful finishes. By simply making smart cuts to the hoop, Theis allows Boston to maximize the potential of its creative playmakers.

He is definitely not a liability on the offensive end, making it easy for the Cetlics to put him on the floor in a variety of situations.

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In arguably the most impressive game of his young NBA career, which came against the Sacramento Kings, Theis scored 10 points on an efficient 4-7 from the field and 2-2 from the free throw line while also tallying 10 boards and a block.

The big man has the potential to become one of the better bench players in the entire league if he starts to shoot it more frequently from beyond the arc. He demonstrated a potential to do so in his last season in Germany, as he shot 41% from 3 point range, and he looked comfortable while making his first NBA 3-pointer against the Knicks.

If he can light it up from downtown at a consistent rate while also playing lock-down defense, the sky is the limit for the rookie.

Theis can continue to grow and develop for the rest of the year as the Celtics make a push for yet another No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

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Right now, the Boston Celtics need him to keep providing the same dominant level of play that he has been giving them all year as they prepare to go on a 3-game road trip that begins with a marquee matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder.