For anyone still sweating whether Jayson Tatum will be able to pick up where he left off when the NBA season restarts later this month, Daniel Theis has an encouraging scouting report.
“[A lot of teammates] look great, especially JT,” said Theis. "He walked in the first day and couldn't miss a shot.”
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The Celtics started mandatory workouts Wednesday and Theis said that he’s crossed paths with most of his teammates as they shuttle through for individual work while ramping up activities in advance of relocating to Orlando next week.
"I know since the facility opened that I think everybody was around, working out,” said Theis. "I've seen the same faces every day because we have certain time slots. So I know Gordon [Hayward] is one of the first guys in the gym at 8 a.m., so I don't see him when I come in at 11. But I just know that everybody is really working and everybody looks good. Talking to players, coaches, everybody really used the time wisely to stay in shape, lifted as much as possible, and now just going back to basketball. I see guys like Kemba [Walker], JT, Enes [Kanter], I see those guys every day.”
Last month on The Enes Kanter Show podcast, Kanter pointed to Theis as the player that had most impressed him in individual drills. Theis stayed in the Boston area instead of relocating to his native Germany during the break and said the time off helped him get his body ready for what’s ahead.
"Overall, I think it was good for me, too, the break we had,” said Theis. “Just to get my body even more ready for the playoffs and for the rest of the season. Just my knees — more lifting, more rehab because, in-season sometimes, it’s hard to get a lift in between games so I used the time really wisely. Just lifted a lot.”
Theis tore his meniscus during his first season in Boston and admitted he felt the lingering effects in recent seasons. He’s worked hard in the weight room to keep that knee strong and the shutdown could allow him to be particularly fresh entering the playoffs.
The Celtics will need a full-strength Theis, too. He’s Boston’s top option at the center position and could have to joust with the likes of Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo depending on Boston’s playoff path.
Theis said he’s eager to see what a healthy Boston team is capable of, especially on a neutral floor.
“From the basketball standpoint, I’m just excited,” said Theis. "I think it’s a great opportunity for us as a team and also every team has the same chance, because there’s no home-court advantage. It’s just about who is the better team on the court.”
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