Former Celtic & No. 2 Pick Singles Out Payton Pritchard

Payton Pritchard

Getty Payton Pritchard

Payton Pritchard has received some praise in the last day or so. The Boston Celtics backup guard received praise from the popular basketball X account, “Ball Don’t Stop” who praised Pritchard for his abilities. Pritchard himself reposted the account’s words.

Former Celtics player and coach Evan Turner singled out Pritchard in response to “Ball Don’t Stop.” Turner referenced one of Pritchard’s non-NBA performances to explain that he “gets to it.”

Turner refers to the Pritchard performance when he and former NBA player Mike James went up against one another in a pro AM league in 2021.

Pritchard has seen an increased role for the Celtics throughout the 2023-24 season. After playing typically only when the Celtics were undermanned or when the game was out of hand, Pritchard has become one of the first players off their bench.

In 21 minutes a game, Pritchard has averaged 8.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.9 assists while shooting 44.1% from the field and 39.3% from three.

Turner played for the Celtics from 2014 to 2016. He then became an assistant coach during the 2020-21 season, which coincidentally was Pritchard’s rookie year.

Joe Mazzulla Praises Payton Pritchard’s Performance

Turner isn’t the only one who has praised Pritchard for his efforts this season. Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla also sang Pritchard’s praises for how well he has done in his expanded role after the Celtics beat the Wizards on March 17.

“I think Payton really, amongst our season, has been kind of underrated, and the growth that he’s had as a player,” Mazzulla said, per Celtics on CLNS’ YouTube Channel. “His ability to play with the ball, his ability to play without the ball. He’s finding ways without scoring to highly impact the game, whether it’s his assists or with his defense or his rebounding.”

Against the Wizards, Pritchard scored 14 points and dished out 13 assists in a runaway victory on the road.

Though Pritchard proved himself as a capable rotation player from the very get-go, the improved playmaking is a new facet of his game that he’s shown in his fourth season.

Payton Pritchard Glad to Help Derrick White’s Milestone

In the Celtics’ very next game against the Pistons on March 18, Pritchard sunk the shot that would help White notch his first NBA triple-double.

During his postgame press conference, Pritchard admitted that he, along with the rest of the available Celtics, wanted to help White achieve such a rare accomplishment.

“I was aware for sure (about White’s statline). Everybody was aware. I mean, it’s pretty easy to look up there, and you see 22 (points), 10 (rebounds) and nine (assists). We were definitely going to try and help him out with it.”

It shows the Celtics’ sense of togetherness that Pritchard and the others wanted to help White do something he had never done before. It also demonstrates their strength as a team that they focused on helping White get the triple-double in a game that was already out of hand despite that the Celtics were missing multiple players.

Jayson Tatum, Jrue Holiday, Al Horford, and Sam Hauser all missed the game because of injuries.

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