Guard Payton Pritchard of the Boston Celtics is no longer concerned about safety after securing a paycheck only weeks before Opening Night.
On Sunday, Pritchard agreed to a four-year, $30 million contract deal with the Celtics, ending any lingering doubts about his future. It recognized the perseverance that had seen Pritchard fight for sporadic minutes off the bench during the whole previous campaign, driving down the stock value of the diminutive 3-point specialist.
“It feels good,” Pritchard said, according to Marc D’Amico of Celtics.com. “Just to be secure, lock it in and be a part of a great organization, a great city. Obviously, I think this is the best basketball organization and city in the NBA.”
Pritchard will be Boston’s go-to guard off the bench now that Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon are gone. With concerns about depth already looming as the Celtics prepare to begin their 2023–24 season, the 25-year-old will be given a lot of responsibility.
Pritchard hasn’t had any trouble making the most of his time on the court so far.
Pritchard has been Boston’s star throughout the preseason, leading the team with 47 points through the first two games. Pritchard fired the game-winning daggers in the fourth quarter of the preseason opener against the Philadelphia 76ers while shooting 64% from the field to excite the TD Garden crowd.
Given that Prichard’s defense is not his strongest suit, his outside shooting will be a key tool in helping Boston get the most out of the Oregon product. Pritchard has a 40% field goal percentage, which is much better than the league average (36.1%) from the previous year.
In any case, if the preseason is any indication, Pritchard may be able to go to the next stage after earning a salary: securing a permanent position.