Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo: Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

While Boston Celtics center Daniel Theis believes that the time was right to leave Germany and head to the NBA, he also says that basketball in his native country is growing rapidly.

Theis is one of two German rookies this season along with Dallas Mavericks’ Maxi Kleber to compete in the NBA, and he believes that there are a lot of younger players from Germany ready to step up sooner rather than later. Including 19-year-old Isaiah Hartenstein, who is making a name for himself with NBA G-league side Rio Grande Vipers.

“German basketball is developing a lot,” says Theis.

“Of course, Dirk (Nowitzki) has been in the league a long time now and then Dennis (Schroder) made the jump. Paul Zipser and now me and Maxi Kleber. We have also a lot of young guys, the younger generation with talent like Isaiah Hartenstein who got drafted. There are a lot of guys coming through.”

But with the talent coming through via Germany, Theis is still an NBA rookie himself. As a professional, he came through the youth set-up with BC Braunschweig in 2009 and he went on to win three German BBL titles with Brose Bamberg along with the Best Defender award before he made the jump to the Celtics.

And while life in Boston is still an adjustment, the 25-year-old Theis is handling it well. He is averaging 4.7 points a game, shooting an efficient 51 percent from the field.

The business trip to London will be just another experience for Theis and though the Celtics, who are currently riding a six-game winning streak, will be considered as favourites for tomorrow’s clash at the O2 Arena, especially given that the Sixers’ flight to London was delayed, the young center believes that it will not play a factor in their game.

“I don’t think so,” said Theis. “They have their schedule, I don’t know when they had their last game but they couldn’t get there earlier so they decided to come a day later than we. For us it was perfect because we arrived Monday night, we rest right and get up for practice.”

The Celtics played their last game before the UK trip on Saturday on the road to Brooklyn Nets, which they won 87-85. The Sixers last competed on Friday as they defended homecourt 114-78 against Detroit.