Coming into the 2022 NBA Offseason, the Boston Celtics wanted to capitalize on their most recent finals run. After losing to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, the Celtics made two big splashes: trading for combo guard Malcolm Brogdon and signing scoring forward Danilo Gallinari.
Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report singled out Gallinari as one of the offseason’s biggest winners from the Celtics’ end. Buckley’s reasoning included that Gallinari went from a playoff team to the reigning Eastern Conference champions, who could mask his shortcomings on the defensive end.
For Gallinari, a soon-to-be 34-year-old on the back-nine of his career, he struck an obvious fish-out-of-water appearance in the Alamo City. That didn’t last long, though, as the Spurs subsequently waived him, and the Celtics smartly snatched him up.
In a little under two weeks, he’d gone from a decent Eastern Conference team to a Western Conference bottom-feeder and finally to the Eastern Conference champs. Not bad, right?
It gets better. In Boston, he might find even more open looks being able to play off the likes of Brogdon, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Not to mention, the Celtics have the quality and quantity of stoppers needed to mask Gallinari’s defensive limitations.
It gets even better for Gallinari. While the Celtics gave him a contract for two years and $13.3 million, the Spurs are paying him $13 million on top of that for the 2022-23 season, according to Bobby Marks.
While Gallinari is considered one of Boston’s biggest offseason winners, Buckley also listed one particular Celtic guard as a loser.
Payton Pritchard Listed as Offseason Loser
With the acquisition of Brogdon, it may be difficult for Payton Pritchard to find minutes now that he’s sharing the backcourt with Brogdon, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Derrick White. That’s why Buckley listed him as one of the losers of the offseason on Boston’s end.
Unfortunately for Pritchard, Boston’s backcourt looks as deep as ever. All three perimeter starters—Brown, Tatum and Marcus Smart—are still around. So is deadline acquisition Derrick White, plus the aforementioned Malcolm Brogdon. Even rookie second-rounder JD Davison scored a two-way deal and could carve out a small niche with his explosive athleticism.
Where does this all leave Pritchard? Certainly in no better shape (rotation-wise) than last season and arguably in a worse spot. While consistent minutes might help him make a more consistent impact, Boston simply has too many better options ahead of him to make that happen.
Pritchard did not do himself any favors in the finals when he averaged 2.7 points a game while shooting 30 percent from the field. That also included not making one shot in the three consecutive games the Celtics lost, which led to them losing the series. The Celtics added Gallinari and Brogdon to give them some extra bench support.
Adding Gallinari and Brogdon makes the Celtics better on paper, but even while adding them and coming off a run to the finals does not guarantee future success. Gallinari knows this firsthand.
Gallinari Stresses That Success is no Guarantee
In an interview with CLNS Media, Gallinari talked about how success is not a guarantee even after making an extensive playoff run.
“It’s never easy to do the same thing you did the year before, and once you’re there, you need to use the chance you get… to win that game and win that series,” Gallinari explained. “You cannot think that ‘Okay, we didn’t do it this year. We’re going to do it next year for sure.’ It doesn’t work like that in the NBA. So, you need to utilize every chance that you’ve got.”
Gallinari knows this since he was a part of the 2020-21 Atlanta Hawks team that came within two wins of making the NBA Finals, then got taken out the following year by the Miami Heat in a gentlemen’s sweep in the first round.