Who’s the next Fred VanVleet? That unheralded senior point guard doesn’t get drafted and turns into a significant contributor in the NBA. What if Payton Pritchard is that guy? As the 2020 NBA Draft inches closer, let’s take a look at Pritchard’s prospect profile.
Pritchard does two things very well that every point guard should be able to do; score and distribute the basketball. The Oregon product averaged 20.5 points and 5.5 assists per game this year and was also a consensus first-team All-American and Pac-12 Player of the Year. Pritchard was flat out one of the best college basketball players in the country.
Understandably, college seniors are going to drop in the draft. The longer you stay in school, the more your stock drops. There’s less room to grow. In Pritchard’s case, he’s someone that should translate to the NBA quickly. He’s a playmaker that can hit an open shot. Pritchard can come off the bench as a backup point guard right away and run an offense.
Pritchard isn’t a huge point guard checking in at 6-foot-2, 206, and a 6-foot-4 wingspan. He’s shown to be a willing defender which is more than you can ask for most point guards. As an iso defender, Pritchard allowed 0.83 points per possession (39th percentile). Not the best mark but not a turnstile either.
The former Oregon point guard was a scoring machine. He ranked in the top five in transition, isolation, spot-up, pick and roll, and handoff scoring in the Pac 12. Pritchard is a well-rounded scorer who can pick apart a defense in a multitude of ways. He also does so efficiently.
More and more, the NBA is turning into a shooters league. If you are a guard and can’t shoot, you’re limited in the league. Pritchard can knock down shots. This past season, the Ducks point guard shot 46.8% from the floor and 41.5% from beyond the arc.
Pritchard has the makeup to resemble someone like Landry Shamet in the NBA potentially. Capable of running the second unit and hitting an open shot when called upon. If Pritchard lives up to his potential, he will be a steal to whoever drafts/signs him.