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Must C’s: Payton Pritchard and Isaiah Thomas ball out in Vancouver Pro-Am

Payton Pritchard and Isaiah Thomas took part in the ‘Ball Don’t Stop’ exhibition.

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2023 FIBA World Cup - USA Men’s National Team Practice - Las Vegas Photo by Joe Amati/NBAE via Getty Images

Payton Pritchard is gearing up for a fresh season where he is expected to have a bigger role for the Boston Celtics. After establishing himself within Boston’s rotation during their run to the 2022 NBA Finals, Pritchard found himself often sidelined following the arrival of Malcolm Brogdon.

With Marcus Smart now in Memphis, Pritchard has a path back to consistent minutes. So, in preparation for the season ahead, the Celtics guard went back to what he does best: cooking folks in Pro-Am competition.

Pritchard was participating in the ‘Ball Don’t Stop’ Pro-Am, where he dropped 61 points. However, Prtichard’s performance paled in comparison to a 2021 Pro-Am run, where he dropped 92 points in a single game.

Pritchard’s performance should serve as another reminder of his scoring ability when given the opportunity. With deep shooting range, an ability to change gears on the fly, and a pesky habit of coming up with clutch offensive rebounds, Pritchard deserves a role within the Celtics rotation next season.

Earlier this summer, he participated in Team USA’s tune-up in Vegas before the FIBA World Cup and was singled out as a standout from the Select Team by The Athletic’s Joe Vardon.

During his Pro-Am run, Pritchard shared the court with former Celtic Isaiah Thomas and would have been wise to pick the former MVP’s brain on how to use his undersized body to his advantage. We might not see Pritchard blowing by close-outs to hit mid-range step-backs any time soon, but any advice Thomas could provide would likely be invaluable to Pritchard’s growth.

Destroying opponents in a Pro-Am is excellent for off-season content. Yet, it doesn’t mean that type of offensive dominance will translate to the NBA once the new season begins. As such, Pritchard will need to continue putting in work if he wants to cement his place within the rotation and begin knocking on the door for additional minutes as Boston gets deeper into the season.

Still, Pritchard is making a habit out of these big Pro-Am performances, with highlights from his exploits quickly becoming an expected part of the offseason for Celtics fans.

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