Rising Celtic is ‘Going to Be a Problem,’ Warns Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter praises Payton Pritchard

Getty Boston Celtics big man Enes Kanter (pictured) has been blown away by Payton Pritchard early in camp.

Payton Pritchard enjoyed quite the prolific “offseason.” From averaging 20-plus points and nearly nine assists per game in Summer League play to showcasing his scoring arsenal with a combined 152 points in just two Pro-Am games, the hype surrounding the rising second-year guard is at an all-time high.

Of course, you could argue the competition Pritchard faced during the summer months wasn’t the most elite — and you would be correct. However, the good news for Boston Celtics fans is that Pritchard’s rapid development doesn’t appear contingent on a lower level of competition.

The Oregon product’s ascending game looks to be transitioning over quite nicely into the early parts of training camp, as he’s turned the heads of Celtics coaches and teammates alike. Big man Enes Kanter, in particular, has taken fondly to Pritchard’s play, gushing over the former first-round pick, while simultaneously putting the rest of the NBA on notice.

“He’s been playing unbelievable, man. He’s going to be a big problem for other teams. I’m happy he’s on our side,” said Kanter via Chris Grenham of Forbes Sports.

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Ime Udoka Adds to the Pritchard Praise

Kanter wasn’t the only one to shine a light on Pritchard’s hot start to camp. Head coach Ime Udoka got in on the action, saying “He’s been great. He’s been great since you saw him in Summer League. He’s been great in open gym and he’s carried that on into camp.”

Pritchard’s shooting prowess immediately transitioned over into NBA play, shooting a superb 41.1% from beyond the arc as a rookie. Now the hope is that he can continue to polish up the rest of his game in year two, as he’ll look to compete for vital minutes in a reworked backcourt.

“That’s a guy that obviously doesn’t lack in confidence,” Udoka noted of Pritchard. “He’s going to be very aggressive and be who he is, but we’re trying to teach him more of the position,” Udoka said. “Not just looking to score every time. Coming off, he can get to the basket a ton. But you draw that crowd, you make the right play out of there. So he’s been great and his shooting is obviously a huge asset for what we want to do and he’s carried that right into camp.”

Celtics Look for Growth from Pritchard in Year 2

While the Celtics will continue to lean on Pritchard to knock down shots, the team is hopeful that he can develop into much more than just a knockdown shooter. Coach Udoka is looking to mold Pritchard into an all-around point guard.

“He’s going to be very aggressive and be who he is, but we’re trying to teach him more about the position — not just looking to score every time and get to the basket,” Udoka added, via Celtics Blog. “You draw that crowd, you make the right play out of that.”



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