Joe Mazzulla Explains Payton Pritchard’s Playing Time With Celtics

'I have full trust in him when his name's called'


January 11

While the Boston Celtics have cruised to a league-best 29-12 record at the season’s halfway mark, the campaign hasn’t fared well for everyone.

Payton Pritchard, who displayed encouraging signs through his first two seasons, has since taken a massively reduced role in Boston. As a result, Pritchard has been left to rummage for time on the floor. He’s played a career-low 9.6 minutes per game which has taken toll on his offensive production.

Before Tuesday’s matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans, Joe Mazzulla addressed Pritchard’s nearly nonexistent presence.

“Yeah, I think it’s a depth thing,” Mazzulla told reporters, per NBC Sports Boston video. “I think he’s doing everything in his control as far as I trust him completely when it is his opportunity. And so I think he’s doing a great job just coming in every day, being prepared, working on his craft.”

Pritchard has averaged 4.3 points on 3.8 field goal attempts, 1.1 rebounds and just one assist — all career lows — in 26 games. His shooting splits have also taken a dip as Pritchard has shot just 36.4% from 3-point range and 66.7% from the free-throw line on 13 attempts.

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With the Celtics roster already guard-heavy, Pritchard is left being the odd man out. Boston already has Marcus Smart, Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon, all of which provide the Celtics with greater length and experience. Pritchard, while feisty, is still a defensive liability.

Mazzulla did highlight what Pritchard has done when called upon this season.

“We have a really, really good team and there are gonna be moments,” Mazzulla said. “We’ve already relied on him in moments and he delivered. And we’re gonna need more of that throughout the year. … I’m really happy with just his mindset and what he’s doing on a daily basis and I have full trust in him when his name’s called.”

Unless the Celtics elect to test Pritchard’s trade value, the Oregon product will likely have to weather the storm for the remainder of the season.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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