Bleacher Report's Zach Buckley believes the Boston Celtics can end up trading for a playmaker for their second unit due to a potential lack of faith in Payton Pritchard; mainly due to the six-foot-one stature.
"(Pritchard) clearly has the offensive game to cut it," Buckley prefaced before saying, "It took a while to get his shot going on, but he's up to a 37.9 percent splash rate from the perimeter. He's made a habit of making really good decisions, too, as shown by the canyon sitting between his averages in assists (2.9) and turnovers (0.6).
"Offense has never been the worry with him, though. Rather, it's that opponents will mercilessly target him as a 6'1", 195-pounder with less than elite athleticism. That concern isn't exactly lessened by the fact his matchups are shooting 4.5 percentage points better against him than they do on average, per NBA.com. That's why Boston might find itself in the market for a bigger ball-handler who can make plays at both ends."
Payton Pritchard most replaceable Boston Celtics player in rotation's top eight
Boston's strength is almost entirely in their top six (Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kristaps Porzingis, Derrick White, Jrue Holiday, Al Horford) but also have a few players, well, two to be specific, who nearly perfectly complement them -- those being Sam Hauser and Pritchard.
Hauser has been aiming to become a rotation mainstay since coming into the league in 2021-22, and in year three, it appears he's solidified a role under Joe Mazzulla. Come playoff time, he may be more playable than Pritchard at this point considering Hauser's underrated defense and pinpoint exact-rated 3-point sniping (42% shooting on 5.7 attempts per game).
Holiday and White need a backup, so it's on Pritchard to erase the sort of doubts Buckley raised that call into question whether or not that needs to come from the trade market.