With Marcus Smart traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, Payton Pritchard is expected to have a bigger role with the Boston Celtics. Pritchard will be the Celtics’ third guard behind Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon.
With Pritchard likely getting inserted into the rotation, he told The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach that he has much to prove, knowing what the Celtics’ expectations are coming into the 2023-24 season.
“If I get the opportunity to play, I’ve got to show what I’m capable of and that I can help win at a high level,” Pritchard told Himmelsbach in a September 16 story. “So I’m just looking forward to the opportunity of showcasing that. At the end of the day, I’m a winner and am obviously going to help Jaylen (Brown) and Jayson (Tatum) because those are the two that are pushing us, but we’ve all got to help them get over the hump, and ultimately win a championship.”
Pritchard admitted that his role will vary every game, but he believes he will be up for what Joe Mazzulla will ask of him.
“I think it looks different every night,” Pritchard said. “Obviously, I have the ability to shoot and space the floor, but also this year, being able to take pressure off, and if I have to handle and bring it up and showcase more of the passing side of things, I can do that. But I’ve talked to Joe, and it’s going to be a lot of different things.”
Even if playing a different role every game may be difficult, it beats sitting on the bench for almost half the season as Pritchard did during the 2022-23 season.
Celtics Believe in Payton Pritchard: Insider
While explaining why he doesn’t believe the Celtics will sign Cam Payne, MassLive’s Brian Robb mentioned that the Celtics believe in Pritchard’s abilities coming into the 2023-24 season.
“Seeing that Boston’s biggest depth weak spot is in the frontcourt right now, it’s hard to envision a Payne pursuit for a couple of reasons,” Robb wrote in a September 12 story. “First, the opportunity for him as a minimum free agent would not be there in Boston’s backcourt as currently composed. White, Brown, Brogdon, and Pritchard (who the team is very high on during camp) will eat up the lion’s share of minutes in the backcourt. That makes a path for regular playing time for Payne a tough sell.”
If that is true, it would be hard for Payne to sign with the Celtics since he’d want a role. If they believe Pritchard will thrive in the rotation, then adding Payne would be more about depth than anything.
Malcolm Brogdon ‘Not Happy’ About Near Trade
The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn said that while Brogdon understood why the Celtics almost traded him, but he’s not happy about it, which could present issues between him and the team going forward.
“I think he understands, but (it) doesn’t mean he’s not upset about it,” Washburn said on the September 15 episode of CLNS Media’s “Celtics Beat”. “So I was told he was not happy with how things went down. Now, does that increase his level of mistrust in the Celtics organization?”
They say, “Winning cures all,” but had the Los Angeles Clippers not balked on the three-way trade at the last second, Brogdon wouldn’t be a Celtic anymore. That is not something that can be easily swept under the rug.