Yesterday, Boston Celtics guard Payton Pritchard set the Ball Don’t Stop Pro-Am record with 61 points, continuing a busy offseason that included a standout tenure on the USA Select Team, and even an engagement.
The Ball Don’t Stop Pro-Am Classic is Canada’s biggest summer basketball exhibition. Earlier this summer, Ball Don’t Stop hosted a Pro-Am game in Toronto. In that run, 10-year NBA vet Trey Burke went off for 53 points, and Blazers guard Shaedon Sharpe finished with 28 points. Sixers guard De’Anthony Melton also participated in yesterday’s game in Vancouver.
Payton Pritchard teamed up with ex-Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas
In yesterday’s match, Pritchard teamed up with former Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas. Both are explosive, undersized guards from the Pacific Northwest; Pritchard is from West Linn, Oregon, while Thomas is from Tacoma, Washington. Hopefully, for the Celtics, Pritchard will enjoy some of the on-court success Thomas had during his tenure in green.
Pritchard had 53 points through three quarters. Fans might remember his viral 92-point Pro Am showing in Portland two summers ago.
The impressive Pro-Am run is yet another indicator the guard could be on the rise next year. After the Boston Celtics acquired Malcolm Brogdon, Pritchard fell out of the rotation last season, averaging just 13.4 minutes in 48 games played.
Speaking to the press after the Celtics were eliminated these past playoffs, Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens made clear he valued Pritchard’s passion for the game.
“I really feel for a guy like him because there are guys that work at it and there are guys that are obsessed with it,” Stevens said (h/t NESN). “He’s obsessed … that’s kind of his personality.”
In 2022, he played an important role in the team’s run to the finals under then-head coach Ime Udoka. In what is often remembered as the Grant Williams game, Pritchard scored 14 points in Game 7 against the Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
This year, with one less guard in the mix, Pritchard may have an increased opportunity to shine. As things currently stand, he will share the backcourt with Derrick White, Brogdon, and Dalano Banton, who the Boston Celtics acquired this summer via free agency. If he’s able to keep up his offensive production while not being a liability on defense, Pritchard could carve out a critical role on the team.
Pritchard has expressed on a number of occasions a desire to be traded with the hopes of getting more playing time elsewhere, but it seems the Boston Celtics will keep him around for another year.
And if his Pro-Am performance is any indication, Payton Pritchard could be due for a big season.