So far this season, the Boston Celtics are the best team in the NBA. Through 19 games, they sit at 15-4, placing them atop the Eastern Conference and earning them the title of the best record across the league.
The addition of Malcolm Brogdon has played a huge part in their success, as has the emergence of Sam Hauser. However, Payton Pritchard’s minutes have diminished as a result of Boston’s improved depth. After Boston’s most recent win over the Sacramento Kings, Pritchard spoke about what his job is this year.
“My energy. Being ready to hit my shots,” Pritchard said. “You know, whatever the team is needing at that moment. Right now, I think my role on this team is to be an energy boost. So when my number’s called, I got to be ready.”
Pritchard played a huge role in Boston’s win over the Kings. After sitting out the entirety of the first half, he entered the game in the middle of the third quarter. At the time he came in, Boston was down five points. They then surged back and ended up winning the game in a blowout.
He ended the night with nine points on 2-of-3 shooting from three-point land. So far this season, Pritchard has appeared in 11 of the Celtics’ 19 games. The guard is averaging 5.5 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 1.1 assists on 46.8% shooting from the field and 44.0% shooting from behind the three-point line.
Pritchard Urged to Leave Boston
While he’s put together some solid performances for the Celtics so far this season, it’s hard to see Pritchard getting regular minutes with all the talent in front of him in the rotation. Marcus Smart, Derrick White, and Brogdon are all ahead of him.
“Pritchard is 25, shoots 41.2 percent career from 3, and has another year left beyond this one on a rookie contract that pays him peanuts. He’s valuable! He’s just less valuable to Boston right now than almost any other team,” Hollinger wrote. “In his case, one out would seem to be as a trade chip to get Boston another big man. The Celtics have thus far survived the absence of Robert Williams III, with the help of some solid contributions from scrap-heap pickup Luke Kornet, but the injuries to Williams and Gallinari exposed what is perhaps the one weakness on a loaded Boston team.”
Star Teammate Praises Pritchard
A change of scenery might help Pritchard advance his career, but his teammates are very happy to have him around in a Celtics uniform. Jaylen Brown praised his energy in Boston’s win over Sacramento.
“When Payton checked in, he brought the energy right away,” Brown said. “That’s exactly what we needed. It’s gonna be games like this where it’s gonna be flat a little bit, and we need somebody in that second unit to come in and be a spark. Payton, it almost seems like it’s him every time. I’m proud to see him come out there and do what he does best.”
It may be a tough pill to swallow for Pritchard, but having him off the bench is a massive luxury for the Celtics.