Boston lost to Philadelphia, but Payton Pritchard brought pretty much everything fans fell in love with at Oregon to his NBA preseason debut with the Celtics on Tuesday night.
2. Payton Pritchard looks like a potential contributor.
The No. 26 pick was one of the first players off the bench, and — as Marcus Smart put it last week — he hasn’t disappointed yet. Pritchard (16 points, 6-for-10 shooting) looked comfortable with the starters both passing and scoring, and his scrappy defense could help keep him on the floor. In the second half, Pritchard was productive playing alongside a bench unit.
Many draft experts raised eyebrows at Danny Ainge for picking Pritchard so high with other point guards still on the board, and one preseason game certainly isn’t a large sample size. But Pritchard competed, hit a variety of shots, and showed he could run the offense competently. It’s just a start, but a promising one.
With no Kemba Walker, who is expected to be out until “at least January“, Pritchard could really get some run with the Celtics as the backup point guard.
Tuesday’s performance could also help Pritchard prove he’s ready for the NBA. He finished with 16 points (second most on the team), four rebounds, two assists and a block (!!).
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 16, 2020
One of the guys Pritchard has impressed so far? Marcus Smart.
“I kind of had a feeling that he would be a guy for me that would stand out,” Smart said back on Dec. 10. “I was looking forward to seeing what he has, and he hasn’t disappointed yet.”
Here’s how Pritchard’s scoring looked.
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) December 16, 2020
The Celtics only have one more preseason game before their season starts on Dec. 23.
Pritchard and the C’s face the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night at 5 p.m. PT on national TV — ESPN 2 — so if you want to watch, now you know where.