Brad Stevens wanted and got his man, Payton Pritchard

Dylan Mickanen
·2 min read

Brad Stevens wanted and got his man, Payton Pritchard originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

In the weeks leading up to the 2020 NBA Draft, the kid from West Linn's stock was rising.

Once considered a borderline-second round prospect, Payton Pritchard was seen as likely to be taken earlier than expected with a reported promise at the end of the first round. 

That team? The Boston Celtics who selected the 2020 Pac-12 Player of the Year 26th overall Wednesday evening.

[RELATED]: Payton Pritchard selected by Boston Celtics with No. 26 pick

After the selection, Oregon Ducks men's head basketball coach Dana Altman spoke with the media about his four-year starter heading onto the NBA and how he helped out during the draft process. Although, Pritchard gave Altman plenty of material to gush about him for. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent]

"Well, most scouts the first question they ask is how he is to work with," said Altman. "Those people are all smart enough to figure out the physical capabilities of a young man. They want to know about competitiveness and toughness and durability and again how easy he is to work with."

In four seasons as the Ducks starting point guard, Pritchard never missed a game and Altman said he could recall how many practices Pritchard missed on one hand. No one was going to outwork him. 

But it's the play on the floor that got Pritchard his draft slot. He was one of the nation's best players last season and earned the respect of many scouts in the process. 

"The scouts, the GM's I was able to talk with, they really respected Payton as a player: his work ethic, the big shots that he hit.

"So, didn't have to do much selling," added Altman.

Who was one of the NBA decision makers Altman talked to about Pritchard during the draft process? Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.

In Altman's call to Pritchard right after Adam Silver called his name, Altman told Pritchard that he had talked to the former NBA Coach of the Year the day prior. 

"[The Celtics] really want you. I talked to Brad Stevens yesterday for a long time. He really wants you," Altman told Pritchard. 

When signing off, Altman ended the call the same way his relationship with the point guard began while he recruited him and then made him the starter as a freshman. He believed in him.  

"You'll be great. No doubt in my mind, you'll be great."