Daniel Theis: More beast per-pound

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We've got threads for every other member of our starting unit, it's time for The Is to get his due.

I was down on him the last two seasons, really preferred Baynes and didn't get the idea of why we needed an undersized center who couldn't hang with the big beef. But his skills have developed, and his game really complements the rest of the team. His energy on defense, his instincts on blocks, and his ability to contest shots without fouling are good and getting better. Just ask Trae Young.

Anyone who has not just the skills but the courage to do this to Giannis can play in this league, and for a long time.

View: https://youtu.be/OUTlD4Q2LBs?t=47


And here's last season's highlights

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvWL9yhqHbk


I'm not sure he's truly sploogefest-worthy, but he's playing 22 minutes a game and starting every night, and outperforming his $5M salary. For a defense-first team philosophy, he's a great fit.
 

lovegtm

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We've got threads for every other member of our starting unit, it's time for The Is to get his due.

I was down on him the last two seasons, really preferred Baynes and didn't get the idea of why we needed an undersized center who couldn't hang with the big beef. But his skills have developed, and his game really complements the rest of the team. His energy on defense, his instincts on blocks, and his ability to contest shots without fouling are good and getting better. Just ask Trae Young.

Anyone who has not just the skills but the courage to do this to Giannis can play in this league, and for a long time.

View: https://youtu.be/OUTlD4Q2LBs?t=47


And here's last season's highlights

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvWL9yhqHbk


I'm not sure he's truly sploogefest-worthy, but he's playing 22 minutes a game and starting every night, and outperforming his $5M salary. For a defense-first team philosophy, he's a great fit.
Defense-first, runs the offense well, still has some time to develop his 3 further. I think he's exactly what they'll want out of one of the center rotation pieces during the upcoming Jay Era.

In terms of undersized centers: this team doesn't really have rebounding issues (it's a minor strength overall actually--the wings crash the boards well), and there is precisely one team who gives them trouble inside with a traditional center. They'll eventually find the new Baynes and be fine there.
 

dhellers

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Let's not forget how well The Is was playing before his March 2018 injury. Torn meniscus might not the same as an exploded ankle, but it isn't trivial.
Given that full recovery from this sort of injury is usually more than a year, it seems like he is returning to form in a non-suprising time frame.

BTW: if one of Larkin or Theis (much less Irving) is healthy in the spring of 2018, do the Celts go to the Finals -- with a puncher's chance of beating the Warriors?
That's kind of amazing.
 

Jimbodandy

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Let's not forget how well The Is was playing before his March 2018 injury. Torn meniscus might not the same as an exploded ankle, but it isn't trivial.
Given that full recovery from this sort of injury is usually more than a year, it seems like he is returning to form in a non-suprising time frame.

BTW: if one of Larkin or Theis (much less Irving) is healthy in the spring of 2018, do the Celts go to the Finals -- with a puncher's chance of beating the Warriors?
That's kind of amazing.
Theis not only came back as good as before but better actually, and that's a great thing. Meniscus tears have a pretty wide range of outcomes from "never bothered me again post-cleanup" to "can't walk 9 holes without days of swelling afterwards". Seems DT's was on the good end of that.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Let's not forget how well The Is was playing before his March 2018 injury. Torn meniscus might not the same as an exploded ankle, but it isn't trivial.
Given that full recovery from this sort of injury is usually more than a year, it seems like he is returning to form in a non-suprising time frame.

BTW: if one of Larkin or Theis (much less Irving) is healthy in the spring of 2018, do the Celts go to the Finals -- with a puncher's chance of beating the Warriors?
That's kind of amazing.
Can we all agree that (1) Theis is a good player who has taken a step forward this year and (2) "The Is" is an absurd attempt at a nickname that should never be used again?

I don't know that Larkin would have made a difference, but I do think there's a strong argument that Theis would have made the difference. I think it would have.

In the offseason, Theis needs to focus on his 3 point shot. He's shooting an even 33% for his career on 3 attempts per 36 minutes. He needs to get to a place where he can shoot more and hit more to improve his offensive value.
 

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Having only sporadically followed the Celts and lurked this sub-forum, I assumed it was a spellcheck issue with his name and had no idea until now that people were writing that on purpose.
Scalabrine worked really hard to make it happen on the broadcasts. Why ya gotta be Regina George about it?
 

lovegtm

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Carlin's Kanter and Brown slander is brutal and tiresome, but that was a good article.

The most important part is the counters that Tatum will need to add. This PnR sealing thing is a bit of a gimmick, but if he can routinely read the defender going under and step back for 3, it gets a lot harder to defend.
 

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I think this is a team evolution. Watching over the last 2-3 weeks (it's probably been going on much longer, but I didn't notice until now), I've noticed Jalyen, Haywire, and Tatum all turning the corner on the pick and then hitting the breaks. At first I didn't understand the method to the madness (why slow down when attacking the rim?!?), but as I saw the seal develop more it started to make sense. I mentioned Kanter sealing in the Lakers game thread, he's doing it as well now (and probably was earlier and I wasn't seeing it), and I know I've seen Granite doing it earlier in the year as well - I think it's a core part of his game being a physically strong wide-body. Initially as the ball handler I thought this was a technique Kemba brought to the team, but now I don't know. I think for it to be effective, you have to have a certain comfort level with your handle - in an out of traffic, switching hands, etc. is prime turnover territory. I have to say I like it, and watching Brown doing it now, I can see he is getting more polished with it as well. There's no doubt in my mind that Langford can take advantage of the seals.

I think what I like most about it is the high percentage shots it creates when done well. One of times the Cs are most vulnerable in the recent past (this year and last) has been a failure to survive when the 3 wasn't dropping. This repeatable approach allows them to stay in a game, weather a storm, build some momentum, confidence, etc. I'm glad it is a team-wide approach. You guys all know more about the game than I, any opinions on where it started to appear? Or who brought it in?
 

lovegtm

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I think Theis’s size has always been underrated, because he has very long arms that let him play a lot taller than 6-8 (don’t think we have measurements since he didn’t do the combine, but he clearly has a high standing reach).

However, lately it feels like he’s been playing a lot more beefily and moving guys/not getting moved. Will be interesting to see if he can add some more strength as his 20s progress, would go a long way to making him a mainstay for 5 more years.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Dude played mean last night. And he had to. Lots of whistles for the Twolves, not so many for us. If the Cs were going to win, the team was going to have to fight through contact. Tatum struggled without getting calls, Theis and Hayward thrived.

Great, great game by Theis last night.
 

lovegtm

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Dude played mean last night. And he had to. Lots of whistles for the Twolves, not so many for us. If the Cs were going to win, the team was going to have to fight through contact. Tatum struggled without getting calls, Theis and Hayward thrived.

Great, great game by Theis last night.
Agree about him playing well, but I watched the whole game and thought the whistle was even. I can't recall a single call for the T-Wolves that seemed bad (I'm sure someone can find an isolated example). The Celtics were playing lazy defense and getting exactly what they deserved from a whistle standpoint.
 

chilidawg

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Agree about him playing well, but I watched the whole game and thought the whistle was even. I can't recall a single call for the T-Wolves that seemed bad (I'm sure someone can find an isolated example). The Celtics were playing lazy defense and getting exactly what they deserved from a whistle standpoint.
I remember a number of terrible calls both ways, just another lousy game for the NBA refs. Theis had a block that was all ball called a foul. C's were indeed playing lazy defense, you're right there.
 

lovegtm

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I remember a number of terrible calls both ways, just another lousy game for the NBA refs. Theis had a block that was all ball called a foul. C's were indeed playing lazy defense, you're right there.
Yeah, the laziness really matters, because refs are often blowing the whistle for players being out of position and at a disadvantage, while they'll let physicality go if you've anticipated and are in position. The Celtics were...not awesome in that regard.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Agree about him playing well, but I watched the whole game and thought the whistle was even. I can't recall a single call for the T-Wolves that seemed bad (I'm sure someone can find an isolated example). The Celtics were playing lazy defense and getting exactly what they deserved from a whistle standpoint.
That may be fair. I was half asleep, but the start of the 4th quarter was odd. By memory, I think, like, 6 of the first 7 defensive possessions ended with a whistle. Some were earned, some werent. Conversely, Tatum was swallowed up a few times in that same period and seemed to get a decent amount of contact with no call.

It evened out about halfway through the 4th when the refs seemed to swallow their whistles.

You may be right, though. Might have green tinted glasses on.
 

lovegtm

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That may be fair. I was half asleep, but the start of the 4th quarter was odd. By memory, I think, like, 6 of the first 7 defensive possessions ended with a whistle. Some were earned, some werent. Conversely, Tatum was swallowed up a few times in that same period and seemed to get a decent amount of contact with no call.

It evened out about halfway through the 4th when the refs seemed to swallow their whistles.

You may be right, though. Might have green tinted glasses on.
The pace of the game was definitely weird--"half speed" was the description my friend used. It felt more like rust from the players and lots of crappy play than an official-specific thing.

I'm excited for the Sunday Afternoon Celtics Playing Like They're Drunk tradition to continue tomorrow.
 

benhogan

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the more attention the big4 get (esp Tatum), the more garbage points Theis/Kanter can pick up off of offensive rebounds

Theis screens/seals are high level, his confidence is growing and if he continues to stop swiping down he'll get a better whistle.
 

chilidawg

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Nice Theis shout out from Red's Army:

"Getting in the way is one of the best skills you can have as a big man and it’s made things so much easier for guys like Tatum and Jaylen Brown going to the basket. Aron Baynes used to be great at it back when he was in green and Theis has picked up the slack this season."

 

NomarsFool

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He's a ridiculous bargain at $5mm a year.
Not that it matters, but next year is not even guaranteed.

The only unfortunate thing is that the Celtics do need to think about life after Theis, as he'll be a UFA at the end of the 2020-2021 season. As much as we discuss the evolution of the NBA game, I do still think the Celtics do need someone big. What's so great about Theis is that he can actually hold his own on the perimeter on defense (and nail the occasional three).
 

benhogan

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Not that it matters, but next year is not even guaranteed.

The only unfortunate thing is that the Celtics do need to think about life after Theis, as he'll be a UFA at the end of the 2020-2021 season. As much as we discuss the evolution of the NBA game, I do still think the Celtics do need someone big. What's so great about Theis is that he can actually hold his own on the perimeter on defense (and nail the occasional three).
No worries. They are FOR SALE this off-season with not much demand. If the C's offer a 2yr deal they will easily get a quality big. Plus the Brad Machine will take most high effort 5s and make him playable.

2020 free agent Centers: Favors, Gasol, Tristen Thompson, Ibaka, Biyombo, Mahinmi, Whiteside, Plumlee, Drummond(he'll definitely take that 1yr at $28.7MM), Myers Leonard, Trez, WCS, Poeltl, Noel, Kanter, Baynes, Dwight Howard, Portis, Saric(?), Cousins, Robin Lopez, Kaminsky, McGee, Jerami Grant (?)

Does anyone want to predict the average % pay cut the first 8 will receive?
 
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lovegtm

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Not that it matters, but next year is not even guaranteed.

The only unfortunate thing is that the Celtics do need to think about life after Theis, as he'll be a UFA at the end of the 2020-2021 season. As much as we discuss the evolution of the NBA game, I do still think the Celtics do need someone big. What's so great about Theis is that he can actually hold his own on the perimeter on defense (and nail the occasional three).
I doubt Theis will get a huge offer. Teams just don't value veteran centers highly anymore in FA, unless they're run by morons like Elton Brand.
 

benhogan

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I doubt Theis will get a huge offer. Teams just don't value veteran centers highly anymore in FA, unless they're run by morons like Elton Brand.
The influx of 6'9"+ guys in most 2020 mock drafts is startling also. A handful of guaranteed contracts will be going out to 20-22yrs rookie BIGs.

Center free-agency is like a game of musical chairs, except not only are they taking chairs away, but they are adding bodies from the 4, overseas and college ranks...

Besides Brand, I'm scratching my head about the Drummond deal, is 1yr at $28MM worth it for Cleveland? AND
Why did Atlanta go out of their way to tie up multiple years of cap for Dedmon/Capela ($31MM combined for the next 2 years + $20MM for a 3rd yr of CC)?
That takes out 2 teams with cap space from bidding for free agent Centers this Summer.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Perusing the BRef leaderboard, The Is is:
  1. 20th in true shooting % at .621;
  2. 15th in OReb% at 10.5;
  3. 8th in block% at 5.0;
  4. 8th in ORtg at 128.4;
  5. 15th in DTrg at 104.2;
  6. 18th in WS/48 minutes at .202; and
  7. 14th in DBPM at 1.8.
The Is really is the Man.
 

benhogan

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Perusing the BRef leaderboard, The Is is:
  1. 20th in true shooting % at .621;
  2. 15th in OReb% at 10.5;
  3. 8th in block% at 5.0;
  4. 8th in ORtg at 128.4;
  5. 15th in DTrg at 104.2;
  6. 18th in WS/48 minutes at .202; and
  7. 14th in DBPM at 1.8.
The Is really is the Man.
and one of the most nimble screen/sealer's in the game

8. 6th in Screen Ast/36 at 6.5

AND hated by refs across the NBA :rolleyes:

9. 5th in PF/100 possessions at 7.2 (Granite is an even bigger hacker 7.7)
 
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lovegtm

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I wonder how much of thinking of Theis as not a “real” big comes from the fact that we don’t have combine measurements for his reach+wingspan. He clearly has much longer arms than your normal 6-8 guy, and the list of bigs who can exploit him with size is basically Embiid, maybe Jokic, and that’s it.

In 2020, he’s a true center, no asterisk.
 

benhogan

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I wonder how much of thinking of Theis as not a “real” big comes from the fact that we don’t have combine measurements for his reach+wingspan. He clearly has much longer arms than your normal 6-8 guy, and the list of bigs who can exploit him with size is basically Embiid, maybe Jokic, and that’s it.

In 2020, he’s a true center, no asterisk.
It's almost a mindset/attitude in playing the 5 (PJ/Smarf).

Anything short of wielding a hatchet is allowed down-low these days. Watch a Laker game, Dwight Howard continuously shoves (w/his hands) on every off/def play
 

lovegtm

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It's almost a mindset/attitude in playing the 5 (PJ/Smarf).

Anything short of wielding a hatchet is allowed down-low these days. Watch a Laker game, Dwight Howard continuously shoves (w/his hands) on every off/def play
It's a mindset/attitude...but being effectively 6-11/7 feet tall with arm length definitely doesn't hurt either...
 

lovegtm

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"Theis" ...German for lunchpail

One thing I don't see mentioned enough in discussions of "The Gortat" is how it requires the right ball-handler on the PnR to make it viable.

The ball-handler needs to a) be a pull-up threat from 3 and b) have an above-average handle. Tatum and Kemba both have this exact skill-set; Jaylen is improving at it. And then on top of that you need a big who is nimble in getting to his spot.

Vogel was talking about teaching it to his big guys...who the hell is gonna be the ball-handler? The easy counter is just to go under the screen, which is what everyone does against LeBron and Rondo anyway.

Luka would be a really good candidate to add this to his game, given his pull-up game and the quickness of the Mavs centers.
 

benhogan

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One thing I don't see mentioned enough in discussions of "The Gortat" is how it requires the right ball-handler on the PnR to make it viable.

The ball-handler needs to a) be a pull-up threat from 3 and b) have an above-average handle. Tatum and Kemba both have this exact skill-set; Jaylen is improving at it. And then on top of that you need a big who is nimble in getting to his spot.

Vogel was talking about teaching it to his big guys...who the hell is gonna be the ball-handler? The easy counter is just to go under the screen, which is what everyone does against LeBron and Rondo anyway.

Luka would be a really good candidate to add this to his game, given his pull-up game and the quickness of the Mavs centers.
This is how I'd rate the ballhandlers/scorers in taking advantage of the Gortat in the halfcourt:
Kemba, Tatum - excellent
Smart, Gordon - good
JB, BW - OK

So I'd rather have KW, JT, MS, GH at the top initiating the offense and either pulling up off the dribble for a 3 or exploiting Theis/5 snake screens at the rim.

I'd also rather have the Celtics best corner 3pt shooter, Jaylen Brown, waiting for the kick out for the corner 3. or Wanamaker wait for a kick out to the top for a spot-up 3.

Having Jaylen or Brad Wanamaker initiate in the halfcourt is an inefficient use of their talents and ignoring the Celtics' most skilled initiators. Celtics offense is just scratching its potential IMO.
 

lovegtm

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This is how I'd rate the ballhandlers/scorers in taking advantage of the Gortat in the halfcourt:
Kemba, Tatum - excellent
Smart, Gordon - good
JB, BW - OK

So I'd rather have KW, JT, MS, GH at the top initiating the offense and either pulling up off the dribble for a 3 or exploiting Theis/5 snake screens at the rim.

I'd also rather have the Celtics best corner 3pt shooter, Jaylen Brown, waiting for the kick out for the corner 3. or Wanamaker wait for a kick out to the top for a spot-up 3.

Having Jaylen or Brad Wanamaker initiate in the halfcourt is an inefficient use of their talents and ignoring the Celtics' most skilled initiators. Celtics offense is just scratching its potential IMO.
Yeah, I agree they need to optimize the offense a lot more heavily in specific matchups.

The one case where they'll want JB to initiate is when there's a favorable iso matchup because of switching. They didn't work that nearly enough against Houston, even though the plays at the start of the 1st and 2nd half, as well as Brad's timeout comments, seemed to indicate that that was a big part of the gameplan.
 

bigq

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Last 13: 28.2 minutes, .604/.333/.872, 13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds
Also 1.8 assists and 0.9 blocks. Frankly his block rate should be higher but refs consistently call a foul when Theis gets a clean block.
 

benhogan

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7. Daniel Theis counting numbers will stink but he'll be a valued role player with the starting unit
Theis is exactly why you don't stick 5 shooters on the floor at once looking for their shot. Ignoring the defense by starting MaMo over Baynes/Theis was idiotic last season.

DT is absurdly underrated, a huge 20 pts last night. One of the best FA values at 2yrs for $10MM

Under 2mins last night: big 3pt shot to tie it up, then a screen/seal for Tatum to tie it up again.

2019-20 stat highlights (NBA rank)
.629 TS% (15th)
10.2 off reb% (15th)
5.0 blk% (8th)
130.1 Off rating (5th)
104.8 Def rating (18th)
.205 Win shares/48 (15th)
1.8 Def Box +/- (14th)
6.2 Screen assts/36 (9th)
#1 in screen and seals for Tatum