Opening Up The Files On The Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics: Payton Pritchard’s role is finally blossoming

The Boston Celtics are a well balanced team when Payton Pritchard plays meaningful minutes and the proof is in the numbers.

Let’s “open up the files” on how important Pritchard role is finally blossoming.

Pritchard started out the year with eight DNP’s due to the coach’s decision. However, he has seen the court more often than not lately due to injuries and players getting into foul trouble early in a game.

When Brogdon was out for a week with a hamstring injury, a spot opened up in the rotation for Pritchard and he’s filled in quite greatly with the opportunities that are going his way.

He’s even pulled the Celtics back into games after the starters dug themselves into a hole. But with Brogdon back in the lineup, it’s inevitably taking minutes away from Pritchard.

The thing with Pritchard has been finding different ways and opportunities for him to get into the game. The Celtics are too far deep and too good at the guard position to find any additional minutes for the sharpshooting third-year NBA caliber pro.

Most recently, we’ve seen Pritchard’s role blossom from a bench player receiving only a few minutes at the end of games, to a legitimate role player off the bench for the Celtics.

We’re noticing that Pritchard only needs a handful of minutes to be productive and to create that “spark” the Celtics need to get themselves back into the game.

In the last game against the Kings, Pritchard didn’t get on the court until the second half with three minutes left. When he came in, it changed the entire outlook of the game, including the fans who had the TD Garden pretty quiet up until that moment.

He finished the night scoring nine points in 15 minutes and is credited for starting 35-6 run that bled into the fourth quarter by the Celtics.

This is the role that Pritchard thrives in and what’ll get him on the court more often. Being able to be inserted into the game at any moment’s notice and provide immediate production is one of the most challenging roles to have in the NBA. But that’s a role Pritchard welcomes with open arms.

“Guys are just making the right plays. Everybody knows their role and is trying to be the best at their role. That’s really what it is. When the second unit comes in, they want to bring energy, change the game up a little bit. And they’re doing a great job with that.”

The reason Pritchard hasn’t been involved in the rotation too much this season actually has nothing to do with him and everything to do with how good the Celtics are. Between Marcus Smart, Derrick White, and Malcolm Brogdon, the guard position is stacked in Boston and they’re all playing too well to alter anything right now.

So it becomes a situational matchup scenario for Pritchard on a nightly basis to get on the court.

Head coach Joe Mazzulla is doing a better job with recognizing when the Celtics need that “Pritchard Energy” injected into games, which to his credit, he has delivered every time. It’s something that Jaylen Brown has noticed as well.

“He made some big-time baskets, which I said before is really hard to do in this league. Just come off and be like a microwave like that. I think that’s one of the hardest things to do in this league. Payton almost seems like he’s mastering it.”

Pritchard is still highly valuable to the Celtics even with a crowded guard position. We’ve seen Pritchard fill in for Brogdon when he missed a week with injury and the same can be said about Smart who said he’s going to be missing more games this season due to his ankle.

In all, Pritchard has shined this season. He’s done everything that’s been asked of him and has thrived in the process. The argument can be made that he has taken the biggest sacrifice in regards to playing time after being a key part on a Finals team last year with Boston.

But he doesn’t complain or make a big deal about it, but rather gets himself back to work and finds a way he can still impact the game for this team.

Pritchard is the ultimate team player in every facet of the meaning. I believe he’ll carve a role for himself that Mazzulla won’t be able to continue to stash away in his back pocket.

Follow us on Twitter @CelticsFiles


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