Boston Celtics: Rookie Daniel Theis transcending his importance

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 6: Daniel Theis
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 6: Daniel Theis /

Boston Celtics rookie big man Daniel This continues to log important minutes for the team and is holding his own against some of the NBA’s best.

With Jayson Tatum drawing most of the attention from Boston Celtics fans and NBA experts, another rookie is holding his own and playing important members for the top team in the Eastern Conference.

Before the season, few knew who German big man Daniel Theis was.  But, as the season has gone on, the 25-year-old rookie is proving to be another find for Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.

Not only is Theis providing the team with some of the rim protection and rebounding they desperately needed entering the season, he is doing so by going up against some of the best big men the NBA has to offer.

With a list that includes players such as Joel Embiid, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, the play of Theis has made fans quickly forget about that other rookie big man the team had high hopes for prior to the season.

BOSTON, MA – DECEMBER 6: Dennis Smith Jr.
BOSTON, MA – DECEMBER 6: Dennis Smith Jr. /

Making the most of his opportunity

Ante Zizic, remember him?

When the big man was shipped off to Cleveland in the blockbuster deal that landed Kyrie Irving, the team appeared void of the type of size down low they needed to bang with some of the tougher teams in the league.

Related Story: Daniel Theis providing team with intensity off of the bench

But, perhaps the trade did something more than land an MVP leading candidate.  It appears it allowed for more playing time for Daniel Theis.  Although just 6-foot-8, 245 pounds, he is playing much bigger.  Averaging 4.5 points and 4.2 rebounds in just 12 minutes, his energy off the bench, especially on defense is giving Brad Stevens a reliable big man who can do multiple things on the court.

More from Chowder and Champions

"“He plays with a high motor,” Stevens said, via the Worcester telegram.  “So he’s always in position or he will not give up on a play until the play is over.  I think that’s No. 1.  And he’s quick and long.  He’s got long arms, and he’s in good position.  He moves his feet really well, and I think you add all those things together, and he’s a pretty good defender.”"

Career-high 11 rebounds Wednesday night

That length and positioning was on display in the team’s 97-90 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.  Logging over 17 minutes off the bench, Theis grabbed 11 rebounds.  His overall performance drew compliments from fellow German big man Dirk Nowitzki who praised his active athleticism and ability to rebound.

"“I like him,” Nowitzki said.  “He’s active.  He’s way more athletic than you think.  He’s long.  He’s a really good rebounder, a really good roller, and he’s smart.”"

That says a lot coming from one of the best players to step on an NBA court and also a player who came into the league out of Germany like Daniel Theis.

Next: Boston Celtics: Kyrie Irving is a masterpiece in motion

While he won’t become the type of player Dirk Nowitzki was, Theis is finding his niche in the league. Boston Celtics fans are happy he is doing so in green.