Toronto Raptors: Dominant performance from Daniel Theis could get Raptors interested in offseason

Apr 2, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Chicago Bulls center Daniel Theis (27) Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Chicago Bulls center Daniel Theis (27) Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Raptors were predictably stomped by Daniel Theis and the Chicago Bulls last night, as a Raptors team that only fielded eight players was not enough to overcome the dynamic duo of Nikola Vucevic and Zach LaVine.

The Raptors have been playing essentially the entire season without a center worth a damn on either side of the floor, and it showed against a Bulls team with one of the best combinations of centers in the game in Vucevic and Theis.

Despite a fantastic evening from Chris Boucher, Theis managed a double-double off of the bench, recording 14 points while pulling down 10 boards and showing off the excellent brand of defense he became known for while a member of the Boston Celtics. A free agent after this season, Theis will have plenty of suitors.

If Masai Ujiri and the Raptors are smart, they will be at the forefront of the Theis sweepstakes. 7.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game as career averages might not sound like a ton, but they overshadow the fact that the German big is one of the best defensive centers in the game, making him exactly what this Toronto team is lacking at the moment.

Daniel Theis would be perfect for the Toronto Raptors

Cleaning the Glass (subscription required) shows that even going back to his days in Boston, Theis’ teams allow a much lower efficient field goal percentage when he is on the floor, all the while creating more turnovers and fouling less. Boston ditching him was simply baffling, and Theis could exact revenge by signing with one of their rivals in Toronto.

With Gary Trent Jr. likely coming back as a restricted free agent, the Raptors scoring will be led by Trent, Fred VanVleet, and Pascal Siakam. They don’t need a world-beater at center, just someone reliable enough to finish off close looks inside and pester opposing centers to the point where a trip to the paint isn’t a free two points.

Centers of Theis’ quality have been going for between $8 million and $11 million over the last few offseasons. For a premium defender at a position of need for a team that is eyeing a return trip to the postseason, Theis might actually end up being a bargain.

If Nick Nurse can continue expanding his offensive game, the Raptors might stumble onto a gold mine in Theis.

Rebounding and defense are high on the priority list for the Raptors, and they could kill two birds with one stone by signing Theis, all the while not breaking the bank. His performance against Toronto should’ve shown Ujiri exactly what he’s missing, and getting aggressive this offseason could entail signing Theis.

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