The name Payton Pritchard is making for himself this week doesn’t have to stay in Vegas.
The Boston Celtics point guard is earning high praise from a pair of ESPN NBA writers for his play at the 2021 NBA Summer League. Pritchard has been instrumental to the Celtics’ perfect 3-0 start in the Summer League, averaging 20.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 8.7 assists in 28.3 minutes per game. ESPN’s Kevin Pelton reckons Pritchard has been the MVP of the annual offseason showcase so far.
“There’s nothing more valuable in summer league than a competent point guard, and Payton Pritchard has given the Celtics exactly that during their 3-0 start, with 26 assists against just four turnovers,” Pelton wrote. “Pritchard also has shot 15-of-26 (57.7 percent) from 3-point range and has even contributed 17 rebounds in two games.”
Pritchard played 19.2 minutes per game for the Celtics in 2020-21, his rookie campaign. That experience qualifies him as a Summer League “veteran,” and ESPN’s Tim Bontemps believes his standing as the “best” of them bodes well for Year 2 of his NBA career.
“Payton Pritchard has looked terrific for the Boston Celtics — who have also looked terrific, though that should come to the surprise of no one, given that half their roster is composed of players on NBA contracts,” Bontemps wrote. “But Pritchard, who has a chance to carve out an even bigger role than the one he immediately filled as a rookie last year in the wake of Kemba Walker’s departure, has looked like someone who is too good to be playing in summer league – a good first step to carving out that kind of role.”
Pritchard and the Celtics will face the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday in Las Vegas. A victory for Boston would secure its place in Tuesday night’s Championship Game.