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Payton Pritchard's Draft Scouting Report: Pro Comparison, Updated Celtics Roster

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2020

Oregon guard Payton Pritchard (3) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Arizona Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

The Boston Celtics selected Oregon guard Payton Pritchard with the No. 26 overall selection in the 2020 NBA draft.

Bleacher Report Draft Expert Jonathan Wasserman's Scouting Report

PlayerPayton Pritchard

Position: PG

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 190

Pro Comparison: Jalen Brunson

Scouting ReportShooting, passing and toughness should help Payton Pritchard compensate for limited tools and athleticism. He has a textbook role-player profile between his particular skill set and intangibles.

         

Here is how he fits in his new team's roster:

Celtics Active Roster and Average Salary (Expiration Year)

Jaylen Brown, SG: $26.8M (2024)

Kemba Walker, PG: $35.2M (2024)

Payton Pritchard, PG: Rookie scale contract (2024)

Aaron Nesmith, SF: Rookie scale contract (2024)

Romeo Langford, SF: $3.5M (2023)

Grant Williams, SF: $2.4M (2023)

Carsen Edwards, PG: $1.5M (2023)

Marcus Smart, PG: $13M (2022)

Robert Williams, C: $1.9M (2022)

Jayson Tatum, SF: $7.5M (2021)

Daniel Theis, PF: $5M (2021)

Vincent Poirier, C: $2.6M (2021)

Javonte Green, G: $1.2M (2021)

Yam Madar, G: Rookie scale contract (2024)

          

Free Agents

Gordon Hayward, SF: Player option

Enes Kanter, C: Player option

Brad Wanamaker, PG: RFA

Semi Ojeleye, PF: Club option

Tacko Fall, C: RFA

Tremont Waters, PG: RFA

         

Based on what he achieved individually, Pritchard's decision to return to the Ducks for his senior season paid off significantly.

The West Linn, Oregon, native averaged career highs in points (20.5), assists (5.5) and rebounds (4.3) while setting personal bests in field-goal percentage (46.8) and three-point percentage (41.5).

Prichard's efforts were recognized at the end of the year as he won the Pac-12 Player of the Year and was a consensus first-team All-American.

He was unable, however, to cement himself as one of the best guards in a draft class with ample backcourt depth.

The COVID-19 pandemic limited how much NBA scouts and front-office executives could evaluate this year's talent. No NCAA tournament and no predraft showcases provided few opportunities to get a firsthand look.

That played in Pritchard's favor to some extent because he had such a substantial body of work, thus giving teams a strong idea as to his overall skill set.

Conversely, that underscored why he didn't move higher on draft boards.

At 6'2" and 190 pounds, Pritchard is limited mostly to operating out of the point. Along with that, he doesn't possess overwhelming athleticism. He's unlikely to become a dynamic, high-volume scorer, and he'll struggle to defend bigger, faster guards.

Even if he weren't 22—an age that some would qualify as "old" for a draftee—it's hard to see him taking another big step with his game.

The upside is that Pritchard is much more equipped to make an immediate impact.

Guards often struggle most as rookies because they have the ball in their hands more often. Passing lanes that would've remained wide open in college suddenly aren't there in the NBA. Defenders close out on shooters more quickly.

There will be problems early on for Pritchard, but he should have an easier adjustment compared to some of his draft counterparts because of his wealth of college experience.

Right out of the gate, Pritchard figures to be a backup in Boston's second unit. The question is whether he'll be able to expand his role much beyond that in the years ahead on a talented roster that is ready to compete for a championship.

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