A promising bench piece early in his career, Payton Pritchard has seen his progress stagnate of late, struggling to find a place in Joe Mazzulla’s rotation. The 6’1” guard has played sparingly, averaging a career-low 12.5 minutes in his 35 appearances this year, leading some to wonder if the Celtics would consider unloading him at next week’s trade deadline. Despite the chance to compete for a championship in Boston, Pritchard appears more than ready for a change of scenery, expressing his desire for a bigger role once he inevitably moves on from the Celtics.
“Obviously after I’m done here, after this year, I’d like to look—be a part of a bigger role a little bit,” Pritchard divulged on a recent episode of Point Forward, a podcast hosted by Warriors veteran Andre Iguodala and former Celtic Evan Turner. “Brad [Stevens] and them know, too. We’ve had that discussion but—a bigger role. I want to be part of a winning culture but I want to also help that, be a really big piece of that. I’m not saying it’s the best player on the team, but I don’t know what my future holds unless I can take that next step.”
While it’s surprising to hear Pritchard refer to his Celtics tenure in the past tense, especially considering he still has a year remaining on his contract, his frustration is understandable, playing on a team that, frankly, hasn’t found much use for him this season, seeing scarce minutes as a backup to Marcus Smart, Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon. A former Pac-12 Player of the Year at Oregon, Pritchard’s perimeter shooting could be of interest to teams, showing his long-range prowess by draining 39.8 percent of his career three-point attempts (235-590).
Pritchard could be thrust into a larger role if the Celtics succumb to injuries (he’s benefited some from Smart’s absence the past four games), but until then, he’ll be fighting for scraps, waiting for an opportunity that might not materialize, at least in Boston.
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