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Payton Pritchard: Surviving nicely in a system designed for mid-sized players

 The Celtics system designed by Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens and Ime Udoka relies heavily on switching defense, meaning guys with sufficient size and strength to handle the task. At 6'1" and 195 pounds, Payton Pritchard may seem out of place.

The stats for the post-season, and the eye test, indicate otherwise. Although Payton is averaging only 13.6 minutes per game in the playoffs, his per-36-minutes stats reveal:

14.5 PPG - 5.5 RPG - 4.8 APG - 0.6 TOsPG - plus/minus of +9.5 - 46.5% FG - 37.7% 3s

Admittedly, Pritchard's lack of size is sometimes exposed on the defensive end, but he can score from anywhere - takes care of the ball (0.6 turnovers per game) - and works hard on defense. He can get exposed on Ime Udoka's plan to switch one-through-five, but this kid belongs in the League.

So what happens from here? That may depend on the outcome of this season. Has the "Little Guy" in Boston become a thing of the past. I hope not. Memories of Bob Cousy, K C Jones, Tiny Archibald and Rajon Rondo come to mind. Payton Pritchard may follow that path and pick up at least one Title in Boston. Game 2 starts in less than two hours.


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