Highlights from Pritchard, Nesmith in C's preseason debuts

/ by Darren Hartwell
Presented By TD Bank

The Boston Celtics only play two preseason games this year, so rookies Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard have little time to ease into NBA action.

Case in point: Both Celtics draft picks played significant minutes -- 19 for Nesmith and 22 for Pritchard -- Tuesday night in Boston's preseason opener against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center.

So, how did the kids play in their C's debuts?

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Here are both players' final stat lines in Boston's 108-99 loss:

Nesmith: Eight points (3-for-8 shooting; 1-for-5 on 3-pointers), five rebounds, one assist, one block, zero turnovers, two fouls

Pritchard: 16 points (6-for-10 shooting; 2-for-6 on 3-pointers), four rebounds, two assists, one block, two turnovers, two fouls

Nesmith didn't enter the game until the second half, but the sharpshooter's first Celtics bucket was a fitting one: a stepback 3-pointer over Ben Simmons.

The 21-year-old Vanderbilt product also showcased some hustle, scoring a putback layup off a Tacko Fall miss and swatting Tyrese Maxey after the Sixers rookie beat him off the dribble.

Those were the positive moments for Nesmith, who had some rust to shake off. He missed his next four 3-pointers after making his first and was exploited a few times on the defensive end.

Boston's No. 14 overall pick played hard, however, and if he can improve on the defensive end, the shots should fall based on his track record as a 52.2 percent 3-point shooter at Vandy last season.

Pritchard, meanwhile, was the Celtics' biggest bright spot outside Jeff Teague, who scored a game-high 18 points.


The No. 26 overall pick out of Oregon was a spark plug for Boston's second unit, playing with energy and the confidence of a four-year college starter. He even won our Brian Scalabrine over by the end of the night after a nifty layup in transition.

Pritchard scored most of his points in garbage time and missed four 3-pointers, but he flashed an ability to get to the rim and create his own offense at the NBA level.

With Kemba Walker sidelined to begin the season, Pritchard could see action right out of the gate, and Tuesday night was an encouraging sign that he can hold his own.

Nesmith and Pritchard get one more dress rehearsal Friday night against the Brooklyn Nets at 8 p.m. ET before the regular season begins next Tuesday.