Celtics final month stock watch: 3 risers, 1 faller

With a month left in the regular season, three Celtics have been on the rise while one other has been dwindling.
Payton Pritchard, Boston Celtics
Payton Pritchard, Boston Celtics / Maddie Malhotra/GettyImages
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Riser: Payton Pritchard

The Celtics' second first-round pick from the 2020 NBA draft, Payton Pritchard has been having a bounce-back year of sorts. Considering the circumstances, it was not necessarily the result many Celtics fans anticipated entering the season.

Leading up to the start of the regular season, Payton and Boston agreed to a new four-year, $30 million extension, setting him up to be with the franchise through at least 2028. After receiving a relatively hefty payday like Pritchard did, it is not uncommon to see guys' numbers fall off or for their effort to waver just a bit.

But for Payton, it seems to have lit a greater fire under him than ever. After seeing his minutes played and some of his counting stats slipping in the two seasons since his rookie year in 2020-21, Pritchard has come back in a big way this year. He is putting up a career-high 8.0 points and 2.7 assists per night, while playing the most minutes of his career as well.

Over the course of this season, Pritchard has put up some impressive performances with the opportunity he has received. A month ago, he put up 28 points and six made threes in a win over the Nets, coming just two points shy of his career high. His ability to be an offensive spark plug is not lost on Head Coach Joe Mazzulla, and he should have some playoff minutes reserved for him already.