Celtics Player Spotlight: How Payton Pritchard Can Play a Consistent Role

Payton Richard knows his role with the Boston Celtics. He’ll hope this role will be more consistent in the third year of his NBA career than it was a season ago.

Boston’s 2021 takeover of Dennis Schroeder meant choppy playing time for Pritchard, who has made a name for himself as a captain on the bench as a rookie. The inconsistent minutes obviously had a negative effect on Pritchard’s shooting.

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Before Schroeder was traded against the Houston Rockets on February 10, Pritchard fired 38.5 percent from the ground while averaging 4.8 points in 12.2 minutes per game. After Schroeder’s deal, he raised those numbers to 48.2 percent and 8.6 points at 17.4 minutes per game. The 24-year-old has proven that with consistent playing time, he can spark a second unit in the Celtics.

So how can Pritchard maximize his impact by using C in 2022-23? Here, we highlight Fast PP’s accomplishments from his first two seasons in the league and discuss how he could improve in Year 3.

Pritchard stats 2021-22

  • Ordinary class: 6.2 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.0 apg, 0.4 spg, 42.9 percent FG, 41.2 percent 3PT (71 games)
  • Postseason: 4.8 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 1.6 apg, 0.3 spg, 42.2 percent FG, 33.3 percent 3PT

Pritchard contract status

Pritchard is entering the third year of his $10.5 million rookie contract with the Celtics, which runs for four years. He has a club option for the 2023-24 season.

What role will Pritchard play in the 2022-23 Celtics tournament?

Pritchard will once again look to deliver a scoring punch from the bench. But just like the first half of last season, achieving consistency can be challenging.

The Celtics team added Malcolm Brogdon to their suddenly loaded back area which also includes Marcus Smart and Derek White. Unless Boston offloads one of these players before the 2022-23 season, Pritchard will be the last guard in the standings.

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There’s also the acquisition of Danilo Gallinari, which gives C’s an additional scorer off the bench. Pritchard should still be a factor in shooting his surroundings, but it’s hard to believe he’ll see an increase in playing time with this current roster. There are simply too many mouths to feed.

Pritchard’s season will be successful if…

…is getting better as a goalkeeper off the ball.

Pritchard does not need to prove that he can shoot basketball. If the Celtics need a spark off the bench, there’s a good chance Pritchard can supply it. But to earn more minutes with the 2022-23 squad, he will need to take a step forward as an off-ball goalkeeper.

His improvement in this division last year earned him coach Im Odoka’s confidence, resulting in more minutes spent on the bench. Continuing to develop into a more complete player will be essential as he looks to play a steady role with Boston next season.

The biggest obstacle to Pritchard’s success

There is no track for consistent minutes.

It is difficult for any shooter to perform at a high level when playing time is choppy. Pritchard was a prime example of that last season when Schroeder, Josh Richardson and Romeo Langford were in the mix. If the Celtics enter the 2022-23 season with Brogdon, Smart and White, Pritchard may find himself in a similar situation.

Expected statistics and predictions for Pritchard’s 2022-23 season

Expected stats: 6.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.1 apg, 0.5 spg, 43.1 percent FG, 41.7 percent 3PT

Pritchard would resume his role as top scorer averaging approximately 15 minutes per game. Without a significant increase in playing time, he will likely end up with similar numbers to last season. We expect a slight increase in his shooting rates because we are optimistic that he will get off to a better start than he did a year ago.

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