Pregame Post-Ups: Theis' NBA-Readiness Allowing For Smooth Transition

Monday, Feb. 26 - Grizzlies at Celtics

Pregame – Theis' NBA-Ready Skill Set Allowing for Smooth Transition Into League

BOSTON - Most young players enter the NBA, as raw prospects with undeveloped skill sets. Celtics rookie Daniel Theis, on the other hand, came into the league this season already possessing a complete set of traits that have enabled him to compete at a high level for the Boston Celtics since Day 1.

Having such a strong feel for the game out of the gate is unusual. And it's something that Boston's coaching staff has certainly appreciated because it has made their jobs much easier in regard to coaching Theis.

"Obviously you're trying to enhance guys and trying to help them through the league," C's head coach Brad Stevens explained Monday evening before hosting the Memphis Grizzlies. "But Daniel came with everything he's doing, and now he's just more comfortable doing it."

Theis' advantage over other rookies is that he entered the NBA having already had years of professional experience playing for the German National Team, as well as the EuroLeague. He spent those years fine-tuning his skills to become a well-rounded player on both ends of the court, which has made his leap into the NBA much easier than it would have been for somebody who's transitioning from college to the pros.

With that being said, there were a few small tweaks the 25-year-old had to make in order to adjust to the differing rules in the NBA. For example, he found himself getting into foul trouble early in the season because he was being too aggressive in the paint, but he has done a fine job adapting and making the most of his defensive versatility.

"I think he's gotten more comfortable with the rule of verticality in the NBA and has been getting a little bit better with that," said Stevens. "At the start of the year, we felt like he did foul a lot, especially at the rim. But he's doing a much better job now. And his length in addition to his athleticism makes a difference defensively. He can catch up to balls, he can get back into plays and make shots. We feel tougher with his presence."

Theis presence of late has been essential for the Celtics' success. He has emerged from the All-Star break to average 12.5 points per game on 76.9 percent shooting from the field, while also averaging 7.0 rebounds per game.

The well-developed rookie will look to continue his hot start to the final stretch of the season Monday night, as he and the C's take on the Grizzlies at TD Garden.

- Taylor Snow