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Payton Pritchard compares favorably with Rajon Rondo in rookie season


The Celtics have not had much luck over the past years in drafting quality players late in the first round. Rajon Rondo does come to mind, being acquired on draft night in 2006 from the Phoenix Suns who took the 6'1" guard at #21. The 4-time All-Star won Championships with both Boston (2008) and the Los Angeles Lakers (2020). 

Now comes Payton Pritchard, snatched with the 26th pick in the 2020 draft. After nine games this season, the 6'1" rookie has opened some eyes in Beantown. The 9-game sample is small, but the Oregon product has played like an NBA veteran since his first appearance as a member of the Celtics.

Although not a direct comparison of both players, their rookie numbers are somewhat similar:

Rondo: 23.5 MPG, 6.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.8 SPG, 1.8 TOs/game

Pritchard: 22.9 MPG, 8.3 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.8 TOs/game

Payton is the better shooter in all three categories, but Rondo, even today, is still not known as a dead-eye marksman. 

Rondo: 42% FG - 21% 3s - 65% FT

Pritchard: 50% FG - 35% 3s - 88% FT

It is far too early to label Pritchard as the second-coming of the tough and savvy Rondo, but the early news on the rookie is all positive. He already has entered the steal-of-the-draft conversation, despite being taken so late in the first round. The two point guards play a somewhat-different game, but Boston fans are hoping that Payton's Place remains in Boston and that he develops into at least a reasonable replica of the Rajon Rondo that wowed Celtics fans during his stint with Boston.




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