‘He’s just developing as a player every day’: Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla impressed by Payton Pritchard’s growth

Pritchard recently signed a four-year contract extension.

Joe Mazzulla is happy with the development he's seen from Payton Pritchard. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
More Celtics

Payton Pritchard’s preseason has Celtics fans excited about his potentially increased role with Boston this season. It seems he’s impressed Joe Mazzulla quite a bit, too.

Pritchard was vocal about his desire for an increased role. When that didn’t seem likely with the Celtics, he was admittedly interested in a trade elsewhere. Now, following the departures of Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon via trade, Pritchard’s situation seems to have dramatically changed.

On Sunday, Pritchard signed a four-year, $30 million extension to remain in Boston. He’s performed well in preseason and has more opportunities for quality minutes in the current iteration of Boston’s lineup. On top of that, Mazzulla sees Pritchard’s growth and seems happy to give an increased role to the young guard.


“His ability to see how he can make his teammates better, and the mindset and intensity that he brings,” Mazzulla told reporters when asked how Pritchard impacts the game. “He’s just developing as a player every day.”

Mazzulla also noted Pritchard’s growth in understanding and commanding the pick-and-roll.

Pritchard is entering year four in the NBA. His minutes per game decreased in each of his first three seasons with the Celtics. In his rookie year, Pritchard averaged 19.2 minutes per game in 66 games, and recorded 7.7 points per game. Last season, those totals dipped to career lows: 13.4 minutes and 5.6 points per game.

Boston’s extension of Pritchard shows the organization is committed to him long-term and wants to continue aiding his development.

“Most people in his position don’t make it to the next contract, don’t make it to where he’s at now,” Mazzulla said. “It just says a lot about who he is.”

The Celtics have two games remaining in their preseason slate. Up next is a matchup against the New York Knicks on Tuesday, Oct. 17.


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com