Our exit interview series moves ahead with a look at veteran backup big man Daniel Theis, who is a free agent.

Basic Information

Height: 6’8

Weight: 245 pounds

Position: Center

Age: 32

Years in NBA: 7

Key Stats: 6.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 17.1 minutes per game across 59 games (3 starts) on 53.6/37.1/76 shooting splits

Expectations

When Theis joined the Clippers last season, he was only supposed to be a stop-gap until Mason Plumlee returned from injury. All he was expected to do was fill in for Plumlee as the backup center and give Ivica Zubac a breather every now and then.

It was very fortunate that the Clippers were able to pick someone up like Theis who had fallen out of the rotation with the Indiana Pacers, as the free agent options at that point were incredibly slim.

Reality

Theis played very well upon signing with the Clippers. He was a big part of the lineup in early December when the Clippers started turning things around following the adjustment period from the James Harden trade.

Theis brought a different skill-set than Plumlee at the backup center position. He was a better man-to-man defender in the paint and was able to space the floor a bit with his three-point shooting.

He played well enough that he made a strong enough case to remain in the rotation even after Plumlee returned to the lineup. And for the most part that was what happened. The Clippers opted to go with one or the other depending on the matchups.

But come playoff time, Tyronn Lue opted to go with Plumlee as the sole backup against the Dallas Mavericks with Theis only seeing minutes in Game 5 in garbage time. With Plumlee’s overall ineffectiveness against the Mavericks, perhaps giving Theis a shot would have been a good adjustment.

Future with Clippers

Theis heads into the 2024 offseason as an unrestricted free agent. He’s sure to have interest from other teams around the league looking for a capable backup center.

The Clippers need to decide what it is they want out of their reserve center. It doesn’t seem likely that both Theis and Plumlee, who is also an unrestricted free agent, are back next season.

Theis’ future with the Clippers is a little murky and less certain. It wouldn’t be surprising either way if the Clippers decide to bring him back or if they allow him to walk.

David Yapkowitz

David Yapkowitz

David is in his sixth season as credentialed media at Los Angeles Clippers games and second season covering the team for 213 Hoops. He also covers the game at the college and high school levels. When his professional basketball dreams did not materialize, he turned to the next best thing, writing about it.

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