Celtics Guard Declared Biggest ‘Loser’ of Offseason

Derrick White and Payton Pritchard of the Boston Celtics.

Getty Derrick White and Payton Pritchard of the Boston Celtics.

This past year marked a season of growth for the Boston Celtics. After they struggled to make it out of the Eastern Conference for years, they finally broke through, as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown made it to the Finals for the first time in their young careers.

And so far this offseason, Brad Stevens hasn’t hesitated to improve the roster around his star duo. He signed forward Danilo Gallinari in free agency and then traded five players to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for combo guard Malcolm Brogdon.

But while the roster moves Stevens has made have improved the team’s depth as a whole, some players on the roster might have lost out. According to Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, one of the losers on the Celtics is young guard Payton Pritchard.

“After seeing his floor time shrink as a sophomore and drag most of his stat categories down with it, Payton Pritchard entered the offseason with a simple objective in mind.

“’My first goal is finding consistent minutes every night and gaining the trust where I can be out there 20 minutes a night or more without it fluctuating,’ he told reporters.

Welp,” Buckley wrote.

With how stacked Boston’s backcourt is, Pritchard has an uphill battle ahead of him.

Pritchard Could Get Stuck in Boston Backcourt

Boston’s addition of Brogdon will likely mean that another player lands above Pritchard in the team’s depth chart. And with Marcus Smart and Derrick White already in place, Pritchard could be struggling to earn regular minutes.

“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,” said Buckley.

Pritchard played well last season, but with Dennis Schroder and White taking his minutes throughout the year, he wasn’t always a staple in Ime Udoka’s rotation. In 71 games for the Celtics (and 14.1 minutes per game), Pritchard averaged 6.2 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 2.0 assists on 42.9% shooting from the field and 41.2% shooting from distance.

Buckley also posed the question of, where does all this leave Pritchard?

Too Much Talent Ahead of Pritchard

With how much quality talent the Celtics have on the roster at the guard position, Pritchard is likely to find himself toward the bottom of the pecking order. Buckley doesn’t believe that Pritchard will end up earning consistent minutes next year.

“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,” wrote Buckley.

Despite his size, Pritchard is a rather underrated defender, and there’s no questioning his three-point stroke. However, as the Celtics attempt to compete for a title next season, there are simply too many talented players above Pritchard in the depth chart for him to get regular playing time.

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