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How Payton Pritchard broke through the Celtics rookie wall



There was no shortage of highlights from Payton Pritchard on Tuesday night. Enough for Jaylen Brown to call him the “goat”, after Pritchard’s 17-point error in the second half triggered a rebound from Boston and beat the Indiana Pacers 116-111.

But why did Pritchard win the trust of Celtics coach Brad Stevens so quickly, break through the rookie wall, and slow down many first-year players at the moment when Pritchard performed At the right moment, this was what Pritchard showed in another key moment at the beginning of the season. Why is he nicknamed FastPP.

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With Boston holding a four-point lead in less than five minutes, Pritchard accelerated past Victor Oladipo, and when Miles Turner was reorganized to help, the rookie pushed the ball. To the basket, to Tristan Thompson. Alas, TT was a little late to leave the high ball from PP, and TJ Warren was able to get the ball out of the steal.

When Oladipo erupted from above the assault circle, Pritchard̵

7;s heel was basically at the baseline. Pritchard took a series of powerful steps to close the gap in midfield. When Oladipo slowed down and approached the basket, the rookie swooped and kicked the ball out.

Marcus Smart retrieved it. The game went on in the opposite way and the ball soon returned to Pritchard’s hands. Despite the small number of people, Pritchard’s threat to attack the basket during the transition still dragged the three defenders to his floor . The rookie pulled the ball to Smart and got an open three-pointer and a more comfortable seven-pointer.

Pritchard scored 10 points on 4 of 8 free throws, including 5 rebounds, 5 assists and key steals. He had three turnovers, but to the delight of Brad Stevens, none of them were caused by unintentionally going out of bounds in an offensive offense.

During his NBA career, Pritchard entered four career games, ranked 26th in the November draft and fifth in total minutes played (88 points). In the bubbles of Boston’s key rotation players Grant Williams (61 minutes) and Daniel Theis (86), he recorded more minutes than Boston’s two key rotation players. Just before he was acquired by veteran Jeff Teague in the offseason, he should be ahead of him on the point guard depth chart entering this season.

All of this shows that Pritchard brags any reasonable expectations. To be sure, the four-year player in Oregon has made him more NBA prepared than the Celtics’ troubled teenagers in recent years. He is older than Jayson Tatum. However, in order to join the rotation as early as possible, it is still great for Brown to call him “goat” and Tatum playfully to call him “8 miles”.

Although Kemba Walker is on the sidelines, some people suggest that Pritchard should even be considered as the starting point for the small ball lineup, especially if Stevens gets rid of him. The first two major variants. In the end, it doesn’t matter what role Pritchard plays, because if he continues to win in his own way, he will become an important rotation for this team.

Without Pritchard’s energy to change the game, the Celtics would not have won on Tuesday night.

“Payton walked in there confidently,” Brown said. “Absolutely need sparks from the bench. Tonight Payton is everything for us, even more. We will need more people to move on. Good guys, Payton Pritchard does a great job. Kids can play. , We also look forward to him and others stepping up the game in the future.”

Before the start of the game on Tuesday, Stevens mischievously stabbed the rookie early in his rookie career. In the process of doing everything possible to prevent Pritchard’s excitement from swelling rapidly.

Stevens said: “He is a good player. He will be a good player for a long time. I don’t want to overdo it. Rookie hype can sometimes be a good thing, sometimes a bad thing. He just needs to keep playing and keep improving. Do your best and try to catch the ball.

“This is the first goal. If he can finish the entire game without crossing the line, it will be a victory.”

Well, summarized in multiple winning columns on Tuesday night. But it turns out that keeping the entry is not Pritchard’s greatest contribution. With the help of substitute Robert Williams, he changed the whole situation of the game. After the poor start of the third quarter made the Celtics stare at the 17-point hole, he put his energy and energy into it. .

Pritchard even scored in the fourth quarter in a intensive beginner group. He now has a lineup of key moments in multiple games. This fully shows the team’s confidence in him.

Pritchard said: “Having the confidence of your coach and my teammates means the world to me, because it allows me to continue to grow as a player and be able to contribute to this if possible. The team helps.” I hope to provide sparks to move the team forward or help the team build more leadership positions.

“I’m going all out. That’s why we play this game. I want to win, and I want to provide the greatest help to win. So, try to do this tonight.

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Pritchard will certainly be a bit smart, especially if he is going to make this type of winning game. Danny Ainge drafted his own young version, and Pritchard filled in the obvious void of Walker’s absence at the beginning of this year.

Sorry, coach, the rookie hype is approaching high speed. Fortunately for the Celtics, based on a little early praise, Pritchard does not seem to be satisfied. Yes, even GOATS must work for this team.


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