The Celtics bench has had a nice jolt of talent and effort in the last few games. And with a series of unfortunate events to their starters, it’s most needed.
Starters Out, Young Guys In…
With Kemba Walker making his return against the Knicks that’s one fewer starter that’s sidelined. Jaylen Brown tested positive to COVID and followed protocols. However, Tatum is out due to protocols. Tristan Thompson must do the same thing as well. Young Center from the bench Rob Williams as well will have to follow COVID-19 protocols. Thankfully, other young guys are stepping up.
It’s already clear that Payton Pritchard was the right pick for the Celtics. The rookie has his fair share of minutes with the injury of Walker. He’s been able to knock down jumpers, handle the ball, and play defense here and there. Star player Jayson Tatum has got on his Twitter account multiple times to praise the former Oregon guard after a game.
So far the 26th pick is averaging 9.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in just 23 minutes a game on the court. His outside shooting has become more consistent and reliable. And as the season goes Pritchard’s confidence level is soaring. Playing alongside Tatum and Brown has amplified his game to new heights.
Celtics Bench Prevails Against Orlando
Following the game against the Orlando Magic, Tacko Fall was able to step up during his minutes. In a blowout win, 124-97 Fall began to take full advantage towards the end of the game. Playing 19 minutes, he was able to bank in a three and get off a dunk in which his teammates when crazy off the bench. The Celtics were able to outscore the starters 66 to 58 against Orlando.
Against Orlando, Semi Ojeleye contributed 18 points and 6 rebounds off the bench. His 6 for 10 shooting that included 3 for 6 from deep was a nice addition. Jeff Teague has been playing in and out of the lineup but yet has always found a way to contribute. Against the Magic, he dropped 17 points in 25 minutes.
Tremont Waters is another guy who’s earning his minutes on the court. Coming from the G League, nothing has been given to him. The former LSU guard may be only averaging 10 minutes but he certainly has been ready when called for.
The big question for the Celtics in the past few years was their depth. With injuries and safety protocols imploding in their face, now is a crucial time for the young guys. Standing among the top of the east right now, Celtics already proving they have talent. It’s just a matter of whether Coach Brad Stevens will be able to hone in on it. The pickup of Pritchard is proving to be a good one, now it’s time for the rest to fill out for the remainder of the season.
Feature Image Via NESN.com