NBA

Payton Pritchard's chip-on-the-shoulder mentality translating over to NBA

NBA

When Payton Pritchard was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 26th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, not much was made of the selection.

But in his first season with the team, the former Oregon Ducks star has been one of the better rookies in the league.

Pritchard is averaging 7.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists while largely serving as the Celtics' sixth-man. And his shooting has been superb, as he has made 40 percent of his 3-pointers and 94.4 percent of his free throws.

At the same time though, Pritchard isn't letting his early success get to him. He's still hungry for more, as he voiced in a recent interview.

To be honest, I'm just going to have a chip on my shoulder regardless. That's how I've always been my whole life.

Payton Pritchard

It's easy to understand why the scrappy point guard would say that. After all, he did fly under-the-radar in NBA circles despite averaging 20.5 points and 5.5 assists per game during his final season at Oregon. He was only picked late in the first round because he's a bit smaller than the average point guard.

But Pritchard isn't focused on the past. He now has an NBA career and is looking for ways to continue to improve on and off the court.

One particular area that Pritchard has been challenged off the court was moving from Oregon to Massachusetts. Pritchard had grown up and gone to school in Oregon, but the quick turnaround from the draft to the season necessitated him moving out to Boston pretty quickly.

Nonetheless, the change has treated him well.

"It is a challenge being away from family, being from the West Coast and moving to the East Coast," Pritchard said. "But it's a new experience and I'm growing as a person, so I look at it as a good challenge."

 

And on the court, Pritchard's key to improvement is simple.

"What I'm worried about is being my best every day," Pritchard said. "So I find the ways that I think we'll be best prepared."

Pritchard will certainly use the chip on his shoulder to help propel him forward in his work. But there's one other thing driving him as well.

"At the end of the day, we get to play the game we love. You can't ask for much more."