Stop me when you’ve heard this before.
The Boston Celtics have four dynamic scoring options in the starting lineup. They get all the press and glory, but there’s only so many shots to go around. It is important to have a guy on the court that can do the dirty work necessary to win games without demanding the ball a lot.
Are we talking about 2020 here or 2008? Daniel Theis or Kendrick Perkins?
Now physically, Theis is never going to be mistaken for Perk. He doesn’t have much of a scowl either. In fact, aside from playing the same position for the Celtics, there doesn’t seem to be too much that’s similar about them. Still, when you compare their roles and impact on the team, maybe you can start to see where I’m going with this.
During the heyday of the Pierce-KG-Ray-Rondo era, there were a lot of guys that needed the ball to be effective. So while Rajon did his best to dish it out equally, it must have been nice to have Perkins setting picks, looking mean, and largely getting out of the way when the shot went up (or rather boxing his man out).
This current version of the team also has 4 talented scorers and while they do a good job of sharing the wealth, you only have to look to last year to see how badly it can go if there are too many mouths to feed. So it is nice that Theis is completely fine with delivering dribble hand-off passes, setting clear-out screens, and running at the rim for lobs.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to diminish the contributions of either guy. If anything, they are (or were) critical to the success of their teams. Each fit in well for their era as well.
Doc Rivers had his centers blitzing the pick and roll ball handler nearly out to half court. That’s a tall task but Perkins was nimble for his size and busted his tail to get back into position.
Likewise, it is critical in today’s game to have a center that can close out on three point shooters. That’s not an easy ask for most big men, but Theis can get a hand in a player’s face in the corner then hustle back to the paint to protect the rim.
You can’t win championships without elite players, but those same elite players will tell you that they need elite role players along with them. That’s the kind of impact that Kendrick Perkins had and the kind of impact that Daniel Theis could have.
Who knows? Maybe we could even get an occasional scowl out of Theis, too.