Payton Pritchard didn’t get to play in the NBA Summer League before his rookie year, with it getting canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
His teammate Grant Williams said in January he didn’t think the extra development was necessary for the Oregon product, who was picked by Boston No. 26 overall in last year’s draft. But after finishing his rookie year with 7.7 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 19.2 minutes per game (making 66 appearances largely off the bench), Pritchard will head to Las Vegas after all.
Chris Grenham of Forbes reported Thursday that Pritchard will play for Boston’s Summer League squad, though he won’t play every game. The 23-year-old returned to Boston not long ago, Grenham said.
All 30 NBA teams will field a team for the Summer League, which will be held Aug. 8-17. The tournament typically is used to evaluate rookies and other young talent heading into the regular season.
Pritchard’s inclusion in Summer League could be part of the team’s strategy as it weighs its options at point guard. After dealing Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Celtics are extremely limited in the backcourt.
As it stands, Marcus Smart will be tasked with leading a young group that includes Pritchard and Tremont Waters.
Boston also is giving Yam Madar an opportunity to earn a spot in the young point guard group. The Israeli prospect, whom the Celtics selected 47th overall last year, reportedly is planning to work out in Boston before joining the team for Summer League.
The Celtics will have the option to bulk up the position through the NBA Draft, though they have plenty of youth available now. Adding a point guard through free agency or a trade would be an opportunity to bring more veteran leadership to a young backcourt.