Boston’s 2019-20 frontcourt looks much different than last seasons with Al Horford and Aron Baynes both gone. There have been concerns with the team’s defense in the post as a result, with Baynes previously serving as an anchor in the paint and Horford being a versatile 1-on-1 defender who also disrupted the passing lanes.
Although Robert Williams had his moments in 2018-19, he’s didn’t play a big role last year. Therefore, Daniel Theis is really the only big man returning to the Celtics this year. Brad Stevens has expressed Theis works well within Boston’s defensive system because he’s familiar with it.
The Celtics went without Theis in their first preseason game while he was out with an abductor strain. Perhaps not coincidently, Boston’s interior defense was lackluster in the opener against Charlotte. The same cannot be said since Theis’ return.
Now, the Magic were without Nikola Vucevic and the Cavaliers struggled in every aspect of the game on Sunday, but Charlotte doesn’t exactly have a star-studded lineup either.
The Celtics also made a point of adjusting on defense after the win over the Hornets, but having Theis clean up the glass, clog up the passing lanes and challenge opponents down low has made a difference.
“I learned a lot from Al and Aron over the last two years, especially on the defensive side,” Theis said at Monday’s practice. “Just to be (at) the right spots on the pick-and-roll. Also, coaches helped me a lot over the summer, putting me (in situations) where I’m good — on the ball, pick-and-roll — (and) where I’m not so good.”
Theis may not be able to completely take over Horford and Baynes’ responsibilities, but, so far, he’s shown he can handle some of what both did. That may be exactly the Celtics need with the slew of wings they have, Williams serving as a rim protector and Vincent Poirier doing all the little things on defense.
Full article @ Theis using principles he learned from Horford, Baynes
Source: GreenStreet Blog