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JJ Redick raves about C's ‘unsung hero' Payton Pritchard

JJ Redick raves about C's ‘unsung hero' Payton Pritchard originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Payton Pritchard's stock continues to rise amid his outstanding season as the first guard off the Boston Celtics bench.

Pritchard is in the midst of the best stretch of his NBA career. The Oregon product is averaging 18.0 points, 8.0 assists, and 3.6 rebounds over his last five games. Despite being overshadowed on a stacked C's roster, Pritchard has carved out an important role for a team that will likely look for him to play crucial minutes come playoff time.

Thanks to his recent play, Pritchard is starting to receive recognition beyond just Boston. Former NBA sharpshooter JJ Redick named Pritchard one of his three Eastern Conference "unsung heroes" on the latest episode of his Old Man and the Three podcast.

"I just feel like this guy outside of Celtics Twitter doesn't get a lot of love -- and no, it's not Derrick White, I've given Derrick White enough praise," Redick said. " I'm watching that Milwaukee game the other night and Payton Pritchard comes in the game, and it's like, oh. You know? There's certain guys when they enter the game, the energy shifts, the flow shifts. And more times than not, when Payton Pritchard comes in the game, that energy shifts.

"Joe Mazzulla always talks about his competitive nature, just his ability to bring it every single night. And there were so many question marks about, 'This top six is amazing, but they have no bench.' Look, Sam Hauser's been great. Al Horford's been great for this season and the role that he's been asked to have this year, he's been great. Payton Pritchard has been awesome. ... He's impacting the winning."

Redick praised Pritchard for helping his team in several ways and taking advantage of the opportunities he's been given.

"Pritchard, night to night, has been asked to do different things at times," he added. "He's shooting 39 percent (from 3-point range), he's got nearly a 5:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. You're talking about a guy who's coming in the game getting rebounds, getting assists, scoring the basketball efficiently in limited minutes. And you know what? He has some nights where he gets a lot of minutes, and more times than not, the guy produces.

"He's a baller. He is a hooper's hooper. That's how I look at Payton Pritchard. The guy loves to play, he loves to compete, and he's having a fantastic season."

Pritchard has averaged 8.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in 21.5 minutes per game while shooting 44.7 percent from the field this season. He'll have a chance to continue his stellar stretch Monday night with starting guards Derrick White (right hand sprain) and Jrue Holiday (right AC joint sprain) sitting out against the Atlanta Hawks.

C's-Hawks is set for a 7:30 p.m. ET tip-off at State Farm Arena. Coverage begins on NBC Sports Boston at 6:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live.