By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Boston Celtics hung onto yet another first-round pick, and once again focused on bolstering their scoring depth, drafting Oregon’s Payton Pritchard with the No. 26 overall pick.
A 6-foot-2 guard, Pritchard makes the jump to the Celtics after appearing in 124 contests over a four-year run with the Oregon Ducks, and after capturing the Pac-12 Player of the Year Award and First Team All-Pac-12 honors in 2019-20.
Those accolades were certainly earned, too, as Pritchard averaged 20.5 points and 5.5 helpers per game over his 31-game senior season. Both were tops in the Pac-12, making him just the fourth player in Pac-12 history to finish a season as a leader in both categories, joining a group featuring Damon Stoudamire (Arizona, 1994-95), Jason Terry (Arizona, 1998-99), and the legendary Gary Payton (Oregon State, 1989-90).
In addition to his conference-leading averages, Pritchard added an NCAA-best 91 points in ‘crunch time’ and concluded his collegiate career as the first Naismith Award finalist and the first AP First Team All-American in the history of the Ducks’ basketball program.
“[Pritchard]’s just done a tremendous job of making the right decision much of the time,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said earlier this year. “As much as the ball is in his hands, to make the right decision that often and that well is tough.”
Barring a trade, the Celtics will make the final pick of the first round with the No. 30 overall selection.
Ty Anderson talked about the Celtics’ draft prospects (and predicted Aaron Nesmith) on the newest episode of the Sports Hub Sidelines podcast. Listen below.