Celtics encouraged by Theis' impressive debut

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WALTHAM -- When you’ve spent as many years playing in Germany as Daniel Theis did, the sight of an NBA scout was nothing unusual. 

But it seemed there was one scout, Benas Matkevicius, who seemed to be at the gym or at his games with regularity.

It wasn’t until he began to have conversations with Austin Ainge, Boston’s director of player personnel, did he learn that Matkevicius was an international scout for the Celtics. 

So while his arrival in Boston may have seemed to come out of left field, the Celtics have had their eye on the 25-year-old Theis (pronounced Tice) for quite some time. 

“Good player, good defender,” was how Ainge described the 6-foot-9 forward to NBC Sports Boston earlier this summer. “He’s a good, high-energy type of player who can help us.”

He certainly did in Boston’s 94-82 preseason win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night.

The 25-year-old Theis is known more for his defense (he was German League’s top defender this past season), but his non-stop movement and all-out energy allowed him to come off the bench and score 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting, to go with seven rebounds and three assists with one steal and one blocked shot in less than 14 minutes.

Of course, it would be a mistake to put too much stock in Theis’ Celtics debut, but the versatility he showed at both ends of the floor was certainly encouraging for a Boston team that has several areas to address in the preseason which includes developing a bench.

Theis, who signed a two-year deal with Boston (the second year is non-guaranteed), will get an opportunity to play his way into a more significant role going forward.

Boston’s Marcus Morris is in Phoenix awaiting a verdict on the trial in which he and his brother Markieff, have been charged with assault charges in connection with an incident in 2015. A ruling is expected to come down sometime this week.

Marcus' absence has created a need for additional help in the frontcourt. And to Theis’ credit, he has made the most of his opportunity to play. 

No one anticipates him playing that well night-in and night-out.

But the fact that Theis was able to do it at a time when there’s so much uncertainty as to how the Celtics will play and which combinations they will go with, it all bodes well for his chances of helping contribute in some capacity this season.

And while the focus for the Celtics is trying to get better from one day to the next, Theis fully embraces the Celtics way of life which is to compete and win championships, as often as possible. 

A four-time German League all-star with Brose Bamberg which plays at the top-tier German League level as well as in Euroleague, Theis has been part of a team that has won championships each of the last three seasons. 

“They like championships here,” said Theis, smiling. “So do I.”

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