Celtics ‘Happy’ Payton Pritchard Taking Advantage Of Opportunities

'He's so professional'


Jan 12, 2023

Payton Pritchard’s third season with the Boston Celtics has been defined by diminished minutes and an inconsistent role.

That hasn’t stop him from contributing whenever his number is called, however. Such was the case Thursday night in a victory over the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center.

The Celtics’ rotation underwent some shuffling with Jaylen Brown and Al Horford on the shelf, which opened up a spot for Payton Pritchard to earn some minutes. The 24-year-old made the most of his 15 minutes off the bench, scoring nine points and grabbing three rebounds — finishing as a plus-13.

For that, Celtics interim coach Joe Mazzulla was proud.

“For Payton, I’m really happy for him,” Mazzulla said postgame, per NBC Sports Boston. “He’s maintained a level of professionalism, preparation and toughness to just stay the course.”

It wasn’t just Mazzulla who noticed Pritchard’s efforts, his teammates were as well.

“Those (bench) guys work extremely hard,” Malcolm Brogdon told Abby Chin of NBC Sports Boston, per the network’s postgame coverage. “They’re extremely diligent, extremely patient for their opportunities. So to see it pay off, especially Payton, man, he works extremely hard. To see him get an opportunity and take advantage of it, I think we’re all really happy for him.”

“He’s been incredible,” Marcus Smart said postgame, per team-provided video. “I think that’s why when he gets his opportunity, he does it so well. He’s so professional.”

Brown is expected to miss multiple games, opening up an extended opportunity for Pritchard moving forward. During this stretch, the bench piece should see his season averages in minutes (9.9) and shots (3.9) go up.

Thumbnail photo via Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports Images
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