The Indiana Pacers took down the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night by a score of 126-124. It was a thrilling game that saw the Pacers jump out to an early lead, fumble it, but come through with a victory in the end.
Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin led the way, while Giannis Antetokounmpo put up 54 points in an attempt to lead the Bucks without Damian Lillard, who was sidelined for the contest.
But amid the high-level basketball and end-game flashiness stood Daniel Theis, who head coach Rick Carlisle threw out there to play his first minutes of the season for the Pacers.
Theis only played 8:26, and it didn’t go particularly well. The big man only put up two points while shooting 1-of-4 from the floor and 0-of-1 from behind the three-point line.
That said, his entrance against the Bucks is emblematic of much more than just his on-the-court play, as it suspiciously occurred right after another team’s reported interest came to light.
Following the injury to Mason Plumlee, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the LA Clippers had been showing a potential interest in trading for Theis.
Is it just a coincidence that Theis’ first minutes of the season came right after that news broke? Possibly. Is there also a chance the Pacers wanted to show off Theis’ skills in hopes of trading him? Also possible.
The big man is fresh off a FIBA World Cup victory with Germany this summer, and earlier this year, he told Brian Robb of MassLive that he is unhappy with his current situation in Indiana.
Theis stated that he understands the situation and will stay ready for his opportunity to come, but he also said that he’s itching to get on the court and play more minutes.
With Plumlee going down for the Clippers, they are left without a true backup center behind Ivica Zubac. PJ Tucker can fill the void, but their center depth is still weak, regardless.
Adding Theis to the mix would give them another guy who can set hard screens, play solid stand-up defense in the post, and do some of the dirty work down low.
At 31 years old, Theis doesn’t fit the timeline or the rotation of this current Pacers team, and while he managed to get some minutes against the Bucks, it may have been more for the purpose of Clippers window shopping than actual production
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