Dana Altman and the Oregon Ducks have sent another player to the league who has outperformed his Draft slot.
Payton Pritchard, arguably the best player in Oregon program history, was selected by the Boston Celtics 26th overall during the 2020 NBA Draft after a senior season where the guard from West Linn, OR was one of the nation's best players.
Now, through eight games of his rookie season, Pritchard has averaged 8.6 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in 23.1 minutes this season coming off the bench.
That's a heavy load for a rookie already on a stacked team.
Pritchard's best game came Monday against Toronto: 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the bench with eight assists in the Celtics’ 126-114 win. With the performance, he became only the second Celtics rookie ever to drop 23 or more points and eight more assists in his first 42 games joining Larry Bird.
With starting point guard Kemba Walker out for an undisclosed amount of time with a knee injury, Pritchard could continue see plenty of opportunities to play his way into the Celtics rotation even when the former All-Star returns. Pritchard's only competition is Jeff Teague who has been declining for seasons.
But while NBA fans are taking notice of the Oregon alumnus, the betting market may still be underestimating him.
Pritchard is +4000 to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in PointsBet, our official sports betting partner.
While Pritchard should not be the favorite to win the award, he obviously has a better chance than Desmond Bane and Malachi Flynn who also have been given +4000 odds. Flynn hasn't scored a point this season in three garbage time appearances and Bane has had multiple DNPs.
On NBC Sports Boston's Celtics Talk podcast, guest Jonathan Wasserman from Bleacher Report said he felt that Pritchard's odds presented some value for the market.
"I mean honestly I don't think Payton Pritchard's going to win rookie of the year, the odds are really good, though," said Wasserman. "Those are better odds than I thought considering how much he's playing. I guess... PointsBet is thinking his minutes are going to go down at some point. But if the Celtics are a playoff team and he continues moving up [the rotation], that's not a bad set of odds, at all."
He's got a point.
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