Payton Prichard hints at future ‘after I’m done here’ with Celtics
Pritchard has averaged just 12.5 minutes per game so far this season.
Minutes have been hard to come by for Payton Pritchard lately.
A spark plug on the bench during his rookie season with Boston, Pritchard has carved out a steady role (19.2 minutes per game) under manager Brad Stevens in 2020-21.
But with Marcus Smart, Dennis Schroder and eventually Derrick White higher up the depth chart, Pritchard’s minutes fell to 14.1 per game last year.
The addition of a key bench piece in Malcolm Brogdon continued to limit Pritchard’s role in 2022-23. In 35 games, Pritchard is averaging 12.5 minutes per game, his career low.
The Celtics may have the best record in the NBA, but Pritchard’s diminished role clearly weighs on the backup guard.
During an appearance on the Point Forward podcast with Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner, Pritchard both discussed his current situation in Boston and hinted at his future priorities in the coming seasons.
Andre Iguodala: “Walk me through the next 5 or 10 years on your own.”
Payton Pritchard: “Obviously after I’m done here, after this year, I’d like to look – be a bit part of a bigger role.”
Iguodala: “You should want that.”
Prichard: “I definitely do. Obviously that’s what I work for. I think that’s what Brad [Stevens] and they also know it. We had this discussion, but — a bigger role. I want to be part of a winning culture, but I also want to help it, be a very big part of it. I’m not saying he’s the best player in the team but I don’t know what my future holds unless I can take that next step. I don’t know what it’s like in five or 10 years, but I just want to look back and know that I did my best. I go out of my way that whatever happens I can live with as long as I do it my way. This is the most important thing for me.
Pritchard has one year left on his rookie contract with Boston, which is just a cap of $4 million reached in 2023-24. The 25-year-old guard will become a restricted free agent in 2024-25, with Boston still holding the corresponding rights against any potential offers.
While Pritchard is a good insurance option in Boston’s backcourt rotation, a bigger role is far from certain with this team. With Smart, Brogdon and White all signed through the 2025 season, Pritchard faces a tough climb when it comes to earning more playing time.
Pritchard’s shooting talent (39.8 three-point percentage in 172 career games) could make him a coveted target ahead of the NBA’s Feb. 9 trade deadline.
But the former Oregon Duck has shown his worth over the past few weeks, gaining extra reps in place of an injured Smart. Against the Raptors on Jan. 21, Pritchard scored his 12 fourth-quarter points en route to a two-point road win.
He may not be happy with his current position on Boston’s depth chart. But Pritchard is still a useful contributor to a Celtics team that needs depth ahead of a long playoff push.
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