Celtics Rookie Payton Pritchard Feels ‘Mentally Prepared’ For NBA

The No. 26 draft pick out of Oregon has impressed so far


December 28, 2020

Payton Pritchard is surprising a lot of people in his first three games with the Boston Celtics.

Especially with his performance Monday against the Indiana Pacers, when the rookie guard led the bench in scoring with 13 points, two assists and two steals in 23 minutes played. He shot a perfect 5-for-5 from the field and 3-for-3 from beyond the arc in the loss, too.

And his confidence showed, as he pulled up from deep on a few occasions.

“I feel like I’m getting more comfortable out there and getting into more of a rhythm,” Pritchard told reporters in his media availability Monday. “Hopefully I can just continue that and help my team where I can and create a punch off the bench.”

In his short NBA sample size, Pritchard is averaging 20.3 minutes per game shooting 64.3% from the field and 71.4% (!!) from deep. And despite his size, the effort is there on defense too, visible by the five steals he’s recorded so far.

The Oregon product’s game has translated well to the pros, and so has his mentality, despite the adjustment.

“I had an idea of what it would look like, it’s obviously a lot of traveling, late nights and stuff like that,” Pritchard said. “So recovery, nutrition and stuff like that, you’ve got to take that stuff seriously. But it’s been great so far.

“It’s going to be ups and downs this year, and I’m mentally prepared for that. It’s part of the process, I went through it in high school, started as a freshman and college the same thing, sometimes you go through the ups and downs of learning how to contribute on a new team and find your way so I’m kind of mentally prepared for that and it’s part of the process.”

Pritchard has earned his time on the court thus far, and now it’s easy to see why analysts are predicting he’ll exceed expectations in Boston.

Thumbnail photo via Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports Images
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