Payton Pritchard: Season Savior

Eddie Jurak

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I think the Nets were so focused on Brown and Tatum that they were vulnerable to anyone else who could shoot. And their top players were tired from the game - I don't think it is an accident that PP showed better in the 4th than he did previously. The Nets could have focused more defensive attention on PP, but that would have meant less on Brown and Tatum.
 

Koufax

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It's not like they left him alone. He generally had to get his shots off very quickly, which he did with success.
 

Cellar-Door

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I thought I heard one of the announcers say that was Ime's plan - might have been Grande as I was in the car for a bit last night.
Looking at the PBP, in the 1st quarter PP came in right after Kyrie left, with 3:23 left, he played the whole 3:23, Kyrie sat that whole time.
Kyrie came in to start the 2nd, they shared about a 1:30 (Kyrie scored on one of the 2 Nets possessions) then PP came out, Pritchard sat the rest of the 2nd.
3rd quarter, Kyrie went out with 2:18 left, Pritchard came on at 2:05, he played the rest of the quarter, Kyrie sat.
4th quarter, here is the first time they overlapped for significant time, Kyrie came in to start the quarter, but this time Ime rode with PP for longer and they shared about 7 minutes.

So it looks like Ime was staggering them, only overlapping for 2 defensive possessions through 3 quarters but then in the 4th PP was playing well, Kyrie and the Nets weren't attacking him so he rode with him.
 

CreightonGubanich

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Pritchard was great last night - and he showed some of the off-the-bounce juice that we've seen flashes of, giving some hope that he can be more than just a shooter. I still don't understand what Brooklyn was doing. They continued to run their entire offense through Durant at the top of the key so he could do his Kobe impression, despite the fact that he had 3 guys in his face at all times. It resulted in bad shots and turnovers, but they never went away from it. You could say Kyrie was too passive I guess, but there was no effort to shift the focus of their offense. The C's were focusing their defensive energy on Durant even when he was off ball, making it hard from him to get the ball coming off pindowns, etc. Why Brooklyn didn't hand the ball to Kyrie so he could either attack Pritchard, or have Pritchard's man screen for Kyrie to get that mismatch, I'll never understand. I don't think Pritchard is a terrible defender, but he can't stay in front of Kyrie, especially when the entire defense's attention is focused primarily on Durant. Run that a few times, then you can start to get Durant going off cuts to the basket and dribble handoffs.
 

Devizier

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And sometimes it takes a game like this one to full flesh this out - playoff game, super intense defense, usual scorers locked down/struggling. The Celtics are really lucky to have not one but two really good players (Grant Williams) who don't fit the mold and so other teams kind of overlook them. They are players who have been told all their lives that they are too small or not talented enough for their roles, but have succeeded despite this. The way they do it is by staying fully within their skillset and not trying to do things they know from experience they will never be able to do (things that starting NBA players can do). But by staying within themselves, they are so good at knowing where they can use their skills to exploit opponents who take them for granted. Star players get away with taking plays off and faking it on defense - the PPs and GWs don't get a pass.
I think this is generally right. The model to follow being the Spurs.

Think of all the role players that came up huge for the Spurs, especially in their later years.

Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner, Marco Belinelli, Bruce Bowen, Patty Mills, Danny Green, etc. all basically scrap heap guys or journeymen.
Supplementing that with young, "low-ceiling" draft assets like George Hill, Tiago Splitter, etc.
Finally, they could always count on over-the-hill guys and ring chasers to play some quality minutes (e.g. Jefferson, McDyess, Finley, etc.)

Celtics don't have the last part really, but they will if they go far this year.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Looking at the PBP, in the 1st quarter PP came in right after Kyrie left, with 3:23 left, he played the whole 3:23, Kyrie sat that whole time.
Kyrie came in to start the 2nd, they shared about a 1:30 (Kyrie scored on one of the 2 Nets possessions) then PP came out, Pritchard sat the rest of the 2nd.
3rd quarter, Kyrie went out with 2:18 left, Pritchard came on at 2:05, he played the rest of the quarter, Kyrie sat.
4th quarter, here is the first time they overlapped for significant time, Kyrie came in to start the quarter, but this time Ime rode with PP for longer and they shared about 7 minutes.

So it looks like Ime was staggering them, only overlapping for 2 defensive possessions through 3 quarters but then in the 4th PP was playing well, Kyrie and the Nets weren't attacking him so he rode with him.
Last night, according to the NBA matchups stats, Irving went 1-1 against PP but that was early in the 2Q. The only other person to shoot over PP was Dragic, and he was 0-2. One 3P early in the 2Q and one fadeaway after a drive early in the 4Q.

Just for info, in Sunday's game, Irving and BBrown both went 1-1 against PP; Curry went 0-1.
 

Cellar-Door

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Last night, according to the NBA matchups stats, Irving went 1-1 against PP but that was early in the 2Q. The only other person to shoot over PP was Dragic, and he was 0-2. One 3P early in the 2Q and one fadeaway after a drive early in the 4Q.

Just for info, in Sunday's game, Irving and BBrown both went 1-1 against PP; Curry went 0-1.
yep in the 2nd quarter Dragic missed a 3 over PP and Kyrie blew by PP for a layup on the first 2 possessions and Ime pulled him before the Nets' next possession. Then in the 4th, the Nets just never hunted the matchup. I'll check to see who else was on the floor in the 2nd, maybe it was a Drummond/Claxton thing, but PP played well, while at the same time the Nets (and Nash who has been really unimpressive this series) never tried to force mismatches.

fake edit- Claxton was on for the PP run in the 1st/2nd, they went to Drummond the possession before PP got pulled. Claxton was also in for the 3rd quarter time, and the first 60% of the 4th, so that might have been something Ime was watching too.
 

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Pritchard was great last night - and he showed some of the off-the-bounce juice that we've seen flashes of, giving some hope that he can be more than just a shooter. I still don't understand what Brooklyn was doing. They continued to run their entire offense through Durant at the top of the key so he could do his Kobe impression, despite the fact that he had 3 guys in his face at all times. It resulted in bad shots and turnovers, but they never went away from it. You could say Kyrie was too passive I guess, but there was no effort to shift the focus of their offense. The C's were focusing their defensive energy on Durant even when he was off ball, making it hard from him to get the ball coming off pindowns, etc. Why Brooklyn didn't hand the ball to Kyrie so he could either attack Pritchard, or have Pritchard's man screen for Kyrie to get that mismatch, I'll never understand. I don't think Pritchard is a terrible defender, but he can't stay in front of Kyrie, especially when the entire defense's attention is focused primarily on Durant. Run that a few times, then you can start to get Durant going off cuts to the basket and dribble handoffs.
I think this gets at the core of what the Nets are missing, namely a head coach with more gravitas than the star players. Kyrie and KD are trying to run everything thru themselves, instead of attacking what the defense is offering. Nash either can't or won't overrule his two stars.
 

Strike4

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Why Brooklyn didn't hand the ball to Kyrie so he could either attack Pritchard, or have Pritchard's man screen for Kyrie to get that mismatch, I'll never understand. I don't think Pritchard is a terrible defender, but he can't stay in front of Kyrie, especially when the entire defense's attention is focused primarily on Durant.
There were long stretches of that game where they took away our toys and we took away theirs. The Celtics smothered Durant and Kyrie and shifted to Brown/Dragic, but they never adjusted back, as you accurately point out. By that time I think the Nets were getting frantic at having lost the lead to a Celtics team that did find a way to adjust back to their stars carrying the load. This was largely because Williams and Pritchard stepped up.

Pritchard is a bad defender but he does one thing really well: he fakes it. When the player he is guarding gets the ball and is not moving he will get up in that player's face like he's Marcus Smart or something. He's like that little Warner Bros. cartoon bulldog. This doesn't have a lasting impact and will not improve Pritchard's metrics, but for his brief playing time in a game it will at least make the guy he's guarding think a little before trying to go 1-on-1. Maybe the guy will pass it instead of trying to go at the little bulldog. And again, I think this comes from the kind of player Pritchard is. He will never be a good defender. He will never block shots or be Marcus Smart. But he knows what to do to stay on the court and how he can cover his deficiencies.
 

Cellar-Door

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I think this gets at the core of what the Nets are missing, namely a head coach with more gravitas than the star players. Kyrie and KD are trying to run everything thru themselves, instead of attacking what the defense is offering. Nash either can't or won't overrule his two stars.
Some of that also is .....
One of their stars (who is the PG but never really ran the offense anywhere) didn't start playing regularly until a month ago... he practiced a bit longer, but he missed all the early season practice, which is when you put in offense, and when there are more practice days. Their backup PG signed at the end of February, their starting C and SG came over in mid-February and missed time/practices with injury issues.

Running an offense at a high level against a good defense with consistency involves a lot of guys doing exactly what they are supposed to, and trusting that everyone else will too. It's tough to do that when nobody has played together, you've barely practiced, etc. Think how long it took a mostly healthy Celtics team, most of the key rotation guys having been here before to figure things out. The Nets... SHOULD be much better next year, they'll add a real facilitator in Simmons, they'll have a full camp to bring in systems... now I don't know if Nash can coach, but this year the deck is stacked against him.
 

Everetts Dinosaurs

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Finally convinced my wife to watch some Celtics basketball last night (game 3 vs Nets). She begrudgingly enjoyed herself. This morning I ask her 'who was your favorite Celtic to watch?'

Her: "I like double P. He seems good and reliable".
Me: "they call him fast PP"
Her: " it sounds like his super power is peeing really quickly"
 

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He had a really nice game last night. Some very clutch shots that were actually pretty difficult to make. It certainly wasn't all him, but I felt like the Celtics went on a good run in the first half around when he came in the game. When the Nets closed in the second half, I was actually a little surprised they didn't go back to Pritchard a little quicker.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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He had a really nice game last night. Some very clutch shots that were actually pretty difficult to make. It certainly wasn't all him, but I felt like the Celtics went on a good run in the first half around when he came in the game. When the Nets closed in the second half, I was actually a little surprised they didn't go back to Pritchard a little quicker.
I thought it was super funny when 8 Mile hit the step-back 3P over Bruce Brown after the broadcast had been talked about Brown's defense all half.
 

lovegtm

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He had a really nice game last night. Some very clutch shots that were actually pretty difficult to make. It certainly wasn't all him, but I felt like the Celtics went on a good run in the first half around when he came in the game. When the Nets closed in the second half, I was actually a little surprised they didn't go back to Pritchard a little quicker.
I really didn't get why he didn't play more. I get the theoretical concern that the Nets will pick on him, but it simply hasn't been happening, because Durant is too up in his own head.

On the offensive end, he completely changes the space available to Tatum and Brown, and works well either spacing out, setting screens and popping, or running PnR with Tatum to get switches.

Single-game +/- is usually garbage, but in this case his highest-on-the-team +/- was indicative of him helping the offense a lot and not giving it back much on the other end.

Milwaukee minus Middleton could be a good matchup for him too, because you can shade help towards him or double without huge repurcussions.
 

Everetts Dinosaurs

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I really didn't get why he didn't play more. I get the theoretical concern that the Nets will pick on him, but it simply hasn't been happening, because Durant is too up in his own head.

On the offensive end, he completely changes the space available to Tatum and Brown, and works well either spacing out, setting screens and popping, or running PnR with Tatum to get switches.

Single-game +/- is usually garbage, but in this case his highest-on-the-team +/- was indicative of him helping the offense a lot and not giving it back much on the other end.

Milwaukee minus Middleton could be a good matchup for him too, because you can shade help towards him or double without huge repurcussions.
I'd guess it's going for a quick change of pace and exploiting the PP matchup but sitting him before the Nets can adjust.
 

Koufax

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My guess as to why they didn't play him in the 4th quarter is that Ime felt that he didn't need to. PP's role is that of a microwave, and the Celtics didn't need it. They never lost the lead and Ime was determined to protect the lead with stifling defense.
 

Cellar-Door

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My guess as to why they didn't play him in the 4th quarter is that Ime felt that he didn't need to. PP's role is that of a microwave, and the Celtics didn't need it. They never lost the lead and Ime was determined to protect the lead with stifling defense.
yep, also I'd guess part of it is, the Nets were really struggling on offense in terms of running anything. If you put in PP there is a clear attack angle available. Whether it works... who can say, but at least it makes it easy to decide how to attack, vs where they were with no real plan and a lot of confusion/trepidation
 

lovegtm

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yep, also I'd guess part of it is, the Nets were really struggling on offense in terms of running anything. If you put in PP there is a clear attack angle available. Whether it works... who can say, but at least it makes it easy to decide how to attack, vs where they were with no real plan and a lot of confusion/trepidation
I get this theoretically, but it really hasn't been the case in practice.
 

Cellar-Door

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I get this theoretically, but it really hasn't been the case in practice.
In game 1 they ran him off the floor very quickly.
In game 2, his 1st stint ended with BKN hunting him off the floor (went at him every possession, got a layup and a good 3 that they missed, Ime pulled him), then his 2nd they didn't hunt him and he had a great run.
In game 3, I only saw them try it once or twice with Durant early then they got lazy.

The Nets don't run offense much, and they don't communicate well, but PP is definitely the guy they should be hunting, and I can see why in a game you have the lead and your defense has them stymied, you wouldn't want to show them a path of attack. If PP is on the floor the Nets should be doing what the Celtics did to Blake... run your offense to force him to defend. That the Nets don't do that is just more indication of a poorly coached team with no real plan of attack. When the Celtics have anyone else on the floor... there isn't a clear attack angle... Kyrie on Horford isn't great but it's okay? Nobody else has a clear mismatch, even on switches, except maybe getting Theis in PnR, but the Celtics have been blitzing that.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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haha, touché! I don’t think I was alone in those feelings gas of frustration, but thrilled to be witness to what this team has done the past few months, incredible! Sometimes, things just all come together and it’s a beautiful thing.
 

TripleOT

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Just popping in to take a victory lap.

Pritchard with 14 points on 7 shots, 5 rebounds, 2 assists in a Game 7.

He did some of the things naysayers on here feel compelled to mention as infinitum when discussing him - playing solid defense on the PG and on bigger players on switches, getting into the lane for a nice dish off to AL for a big bucket when the team was floundering for some offense, smartly flying in for big offensive rebounds, and nailing threes.

Pritchard electrified the Garden today, which is even more impressive considering his shooting woes the last few games.
 
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Strike4

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This is the game I thought he'd have in game 6 - deploy him as a knockout punch with a couple dagger threes. Been pleasantly surprised at the rebounds and some clutch plays, too. He's the kind of player who knows that to survive in a rotation he always needs to be scrapping on defense, and making smart choices. The irony about him is that the shooting is probably the easiest thing for him since he's at a disadvantage in nearly every other aspect.
 

NomarsFool

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He had a couple of big shots, that’s for sure and a couple of nice hustle plays. I was a little surprised Ime left him out there so long in the fourth, rather than bringing White back in. It seemed like we had enough points to win, it was just a case of being able to continue to shut down the Bucks. It all worked out, though, and I’m sure it was a nice experience for him to be in the group putting it away,
 

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He does have a knack for sneaking in there and grabbing boards.
I feel like he’s the guy who other teams often have had who have burned us in the past: the scrappy, under-sized, under-estimated, over-achieving, (usually) white guard who comes in and drains threes and grabs boards that leave you saying “we’re getting beat by THIS twerp?!?”
 

scottyno

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Not sure if they can keep him in this role long term or if someone else will end up overpaying him on his next contract, but he's perfect in his current role as a spark plug who can come in and change a game, especially since they have enough other great defenders that they can hide him in most match-ups.

Also he clearly has a ton of confidence, since he kind of sucked games 1-6, but that didn't stop him from taking his same shots tonight.
 

lovegtm

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Not sure if they can keep him in this role long term or if someone else will end up overpaying him on his next contract, but he's perfect in his current role as a spark plug who can come in and change a game, especially since they have enough other great defenders that they can hide him in most match-ups.

Also he clearly has a ton of confidence, since he kind of sucked games 1-6, but that didn't stop him from taking his same shots tonight.
2 more years of title runs after this -- I'm fine worrying about his contract later.

2 straight series in which, far from being unplayable, he's been critical at various times.

He gets lumped in with Kemba/IT in our heads, but he is far more able to compete physically on the defensive end, as long as his man isn't a Durant type who can just shoot over.
 

Cesar Crespo

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2 more years of title runs after this -- I'm fine worrying about his contract later.

2 straight series in which, far from being unplayable, he's been critical at various times.

He gets lumped in with Kemba/IT in our heads, but he is far more able to compete physically on the defensive end, as long as his man isn't a Durant type who can just shoot over.
To be fair, Kemba and IT would be playing 40+ mpg. Easier to hide someone for 15-20.
 

Imbricus

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I'm encouraged by his improvement on defense and his willingness to get involved in the rebounding. On defense, he is scrappy, and I can't think of many times when he got abused this series. Holiday spun him around once yesterday, but Holiday will do that to everyone. On rebounding, he uses his low center of gravity and some strength and put Portis on his butt once.

I know Pritchard usually gets grudging respect around here, but the guy competes like hell and has some skills beyond three-point shooting. I bet he had the lowest assist to turnover ratio of anyone who handled the ball a lot over these seven games. (In fact, I just looked it up: 15 assists to 1 turnover. That's pretty damn good.)
 

lovegtm

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I'm encouraged by his improvement on defense and his willingness to get involved in the rebounding. On defense, he is scrappy, and I can't think of many times when he got abused this series. Holiday spun him around once yesterday, but Holiday will do that to everyone. On rebounding, he uses his low center of gravity and some strength and put Portis on his butt once.

I know Pritchard usually gets grudging respect around here, but the guy competes like hell and has some skills beyond three-point shooting. I bet he had the lowest assist to turnover ratio of anyone who handled the ball a lot over these seven games. (In fact, I just looked it up: 15 assists to 1 turnover. That's pretty damn good.)
Pritchard was helped more than anyone by Tatum's emergence as an elite playmaker. No more need for PP to try and create advantages (he can't, in any case), and his spacing 4 feet behind the line really opens up some powerful Tatum+Brown lineups.
 

joe dokes

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I'm encouraged by his improvement on defense and his willingness to get involved in the rebounding. On defense, he is scrappy, and I can't think of many times when he got abused this series. Holiday spun him around once yesterday, but Holiday will do that to everyone. On rebounding, he uses his low center of gravity and some strength and put Portis on his butt once.

I know Pritchard usually gets grudging respect around here, but the guy competes like hell and has some skills beyond three-point shooting. I bet he had the lowest assist to turnover ratio of anyone who handled the ball a lot over these seven games. (In fact, I just looked it up: 15 assists to 1 turnover. That's pretty damn good.)
He's always been willing. During his stretch last year when he was getting time, he was fearless driving, was strong on the ball offensively, fought for rebounds, and was giving what appeared to be max effort and being physical on defense. Through coaching or whatever, his defensive "skill" has gotten closer to his effort. Successes on defense have gone up. He's not a lockdown defender, but I feel more confident that he might stop 2 or 3 of 5 than I did with Kemba.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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There was a 7-game stretch as the Cs started to turn things around in late January/early February where PP was pretty much buried. Played less than 5 mins a game, got fewer than 3 shots, and was basically invisible.

Then, starting with the Brooklyn blowout on Feb. 8, he only got less than 10 mins of run once, and over the last 25 games he averaged more than 17 minutes a game, shooting .468 from three - 52/111. Getting only 4.4 shots a game, a lot of people were calling for him to get more shots in the game threads, but I think Ime did a great job of consistently bringing him in at the beginning of the fourth and encouraging him to take shots and try to add that spark while other scoring from Tatum/Brown was on the bench.

2.4/.5 A to TO ratio ain't bad either.
 

TripleOT

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Pritchard was helped more than anyone by Tatum's emergence as an elite playmaker. No more need for PP to try and create advantages (he can't, in any case), and his spacing 4 feet behind the line really opens up some powerful Tatum+Brown lineups.
He can’t create advantages? He did in Game 7, using the heavy Tatum coverage to his advantage. In the first two plays of this clip, he deftly got open for a three, and then drove and dished to AL with Giannis defending the rim, two huge plays as the Celtics overcame an early Bucks lead. He also used his step back to generate a big three later in the game. Pritchard is probably not going to be a guard that can consistently break down defenses on his own, but playing in the Tatum/Brown undertow, is a needed weapon.

View: https://youtu.be/6Onlap0B2p4
 

Cesar Crespo

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Yeah, this is a case against relying on smurfs as key starters in general, as I'm sure you and PBS agree.
He's less of a smurf anyway and probably a better shooter, at least from an accuracy stand point. He upped the volume a lot this year too, but who knows if it'd hold up over more minutes. I'd guess he's going to have a bigger role next year but looking at the line up, I don't really see how. Assuming health, anyway.
 

lovegtm

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He can’t create advantages? He did in Game 7, using the heavy Tatum coverage to his advantage. In the first two plays of this clip, he deftly got open for a three, and then drove and dished to AL with Giannis defending the rim, two huge plays as the Celtics overcame an early Bucks lead. He also used his step back to generate a big three later in the game. Pritchard is probably not going to be a guard that can consistently break down defenses on his own, but playing in the Tatum/Brown undertow, is a needed weapon.

View: https://youtu.be/6Onlap0B2p4
The bolded is what I mean. He is not going to initiate the offense and consistently force help or beat his man. He needs to play in the "Tatum/Brown undertow."

PP is not good at beating his man against non-compromised defenses. That's fine--there are plenty of other ways to use him, but it's a limitation of his game.
 

lovegtm

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He's less of a smurf anyway and probably a better shooter, at least from an accuracy stand point. He upped the volume a lot this year too, but who knows if it'd hold up over more minutes. I'd guess he's going to have a bigger role next year but looking at the line up, I don't really see how. Assuming health, anyway.
Maybe a bigger role just from being higher up in the rotation when guys inevitably miss time and play fewer minutes in the regular season.

I'm not really worried about his shooting getting worse in increased minutes, simply because he's not getting his shots in ways that really change when you play more. If anything, playing more in better lineups plays to his offensive strengths.
 

Bleedred

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The bolded is what I mean. He is not going to initiate the offense and consistently force help or beat his man. He needs to play in the "Tatum/Brown undertow."

PP is not good at beating his man against non-compromised defenses. That's fine--there are plenty of other ways to use him, but it's a limitation of his game.
I'm not sure the bolded is necessarily true, in that PP has probably the best "standing" handle on the team. What I mean by that is that I think he's the best player on the team (maybe other than JT) at creating space off the dribble for his step back, side step 3s and jumpers. That's not to say that he could do that consistently against the Jrue Hollidays of the world, but as noted, if he's playing with JT and JB and a 3rd defender is guarding him, I'm pretty confident that PP could consistently beat his man. It's academic for now, because on this team, we want him for 15-20 minutes to play exactly how he did yesterday.
 

TripleOT

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The bolded is what I mean. He is not going to initiate the offense and consistently force help or beat his man. He needs to play in the "Tatum/Brown undertow."

PP is not good at beating his man against non-compromised defenses. That's fine--there are plenty of other ways to use him, but it's a limitation of his game.
I understood what you meant, and I agree. I may be a little more hopeful that Pritchard eventually figures out how to beat man coverage without the Tatum/Brown undertow, since he has a good handle and shot.
 

Cesar Crespo

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I wonder what he's told to work on during the summer given his age and the role he plays on the team.