Celtics could be opening door to a large role for Payton Pritchard

Chris Burkhardt
·2 min read

Celtics could be opening door to a large role for Payton Pritchard originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

Payton Pritchard. If you live in the Northwest, odds are you know the name. 

He had a historic high school career at West Linn, winning four OSAA state basketball championships. 

Originally an early Oklahoma commit, Pritchard changed course and stayed close to home flipping his commitment to the University of Oregon.

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Once in Eugene, he continued to put up historic numbers. He was the Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2019-2020, left the program as the Ducks all-time leader in assists with 659, and is the only player in Pac-12 history with 1,900 career points, 500 career rebounds, and 600 career assists.

All those accolades earned him a shot at the NBA where the Boston Celtics selected him with the 26th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

His name is well known in the Northwest but now the Boston Celtics, and their fans, are about to get real familiar with the name too.

Just days after drafting him, the Celtics may be tipping their hand, showing us that they intend to get him on the court sooner rather than later.

It was reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Thursday that the Celtics would not be tendering a qualifying offer to Brad Wanamaker, making the guard an unrestricted free agent.

The move may not seem like much at first, but what it does do is open the door for Pritchard's fast path to the floor.

Wanamaker played 89 games for the Celtics last season, including the playoffs, primarily as a key second-unit player. The 6'3" guard averaged nearly 20 minutes per game in the regular season, and 16 in the playoffs. 

If the Celtics do not re-sign him, there will be a giant void of minutes to fill.

Enter Pritchard. 

The Celtics used a first round pick on him for a reason. That reason being they think he can have an impact on the lineup. 

With Wanamaker potentially out of the picture, the door is wide open for Pritcahrd to become the primary point guard for the second unit.

Should the Celtics re-sign Wanamaker, or happen to bring in another free agent guard, then it muddies the waters a little.

But as it stands right now, the Celtics appear to be leaning towards a large role for the Oregon rookie.