Kendrick Perkins sends confident message on emerging Boston Celtics bench leader: 'Put the world on notice'

Orlando Magic v Boston Celtics
Orlando Magic v Boston Celtics / Maddie Malhotra/GettyImages

Kendrick Perkins has become a major believer in Payton Pritchard after a 19-point performance in 31 minutes off the pine against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 20. So much so that the starting center on the 2007-08 championship team thinks that the Boston Celtics wouldn't be winning games without him.

“(Wednesday) night, Payton Pritchard put the world on notice,” Kendrick Perkins (h/t “This is a guy that was out of the rotation last postseason and without him, they don’t win that basketball game.

“What he brought from a tenacity standpoint, getting the crowd fired up along with getting buckets. This young man has been getting buckets since he’s been at Oregon. This is a bright spot for the Boston Celtics. No Jrue Holiday, all of a sudden this man comes in, has 19 points off the bench.”

Payton Pritchard would be starter elsewhere if Boston Celtics didn't clear way to re-sign him

Celtics fans have President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens to thank for why they aren't sweating Pritchard being signed away this offseason regardless of how far Boston goes in the postseason.

As MassLive's Brian Robb relayed, the 2023 offseason trades of Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon opened the door for Pritchard to get an extension; one that is extremely team-friendly to boot.

"Pritchard’s consistent play and efficient shooting would have probably made him a starting point guard candidate this summer if he hit free agency," Robb prefaced before saying, "A deep run in the postseason for Boston would probably only increase his asking price. Instead, the Celtics choose wisely in clearly the way for opportunity for Pritchard this season by dealing away Malcolm Brogdon and Marcus Smart, which paved the way for a preseason extension of four years for $28 million."

Trading Smart hurt when it happened, but if this team finishes the story and raises the Larry O'Brien Trophy this June, one can make the argument that it would've hurt more to lose Pritchard from a team that looks built to contend for years to come.