Celtics rookie free agent addition Daniel Theis has played major minutes for Germany during the Eurobasket tournament (a FIBA World Cup qualifier) over the past two weeks, but he saved his best performance to date for Saturday against a France team full of NBA-level talent.
The 6-foot-9 stretch big posted team-highs with 22 points and 7 rebounds in a come-from-behind 84-81 victory for the Germans over France during the knockout round of 16. France was the favored team in the matchup and featured a deep roster that included Evan Fournier, Boris Diaw, Jeffrey Lauvergne and Kevin Seraphin.
Theis led the way for Germany in the win with an incredibly efficient performance (8-of-9 FG) from inside and out (2-of-2 from 3-pt range) over 29 minutes. He also posted a team-high plus/minus of +13 as the Germans advanced to the Eurobasket quarterfinals on Tuesday against the winner of Spain/Turkey.
Through six games at EuroBasket, Theis has shown plenty of the promise that made him a Celtics target during the offseason. He’s averaging 10.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game with 56 percent shooting from the field and 57.1 percent from 3-point range.
“Daniel has been a prospect for a number of years now,” Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge told the Boston Sports Journal back in July. “He’s a guy that has just slowly gotten better. He kept working on his game, kept improving. Now at age 25, he’s ready to make the leap. He’s won three German championships in a row and plays a lot at the 4 and 5. He can shoot 3s, he’s athletic and he’s a national team player, so he’s very experienced for a 25-year-old.”
WIth a shallow depth chart in the Boston frontcourt after the trade of Ante Zizic, Theis should have an opportunity to earn minutes for the green right out of the gate as he tries to translate his game to the NBA.
“I don’t know a great comparison for him,” Ainge said when asked about a player comparison. “He’s equally comfortable rolling to the rim or popping, and he can guard the 4 and the 5. He can switch some too. He’s been wiry, strong and athletic.”
We’ll have a closer scouting report on Theis later next week but you can check out some of his highlights.