Taking a step back and looking at the Boston Celtics’ roster build, it’s clear that chord is their number one need as we near the February 9th close.
After Keith Smith from Heavy On Sports, One player who could solve this problem and be accessible via commerce is former 2021 lottery winner Chris Duarte.
“Duarte is someone I wondered about for Boston. His deal would fit into one of the Celtics TPEs. Fulfills a need on wing and under team control for a few more seasons after this one. Would you give up protected precedence for him for the extra chord? Smith tweeted.
Duarte is reportedly available due to the Indiana Pacers’ willingness to explore a deal, according to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer on his Don’t Sum Up podcast.
“Several front office employees told Yahoo Sports that Indiana has since made the 25-year-old available in a recent dialogue,” Fischer said.
In 21 games this season, Duarte averaged 6.1 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game while hitting the rock with 32.1% clip from the field, 26.8 clip from the perimeter and 84% of his free throw attempts . However, given Duarte’s success as a rookie, it’s safe to assume that both inconsistent playing time and a reduced role have impacted his ability to impact the game this season.
Payton Pritchard is no stranger to seeing his minutes and role dwindling as he has struggled with inconsistent seasons over the past two seasons; However, on Jan. 12, he came off the bench to shine against the Brooklyn Nets.
After the Celtics’ 109-98 win over Brooklyn, Mazzulla spoke about Pritchard’s ability to stay ready regardless of the minutes he’s played in previous games, noting how the third-year guard knows when it’s time to ascend
“I’ve already said it in terms of our depth, like: I trust these guys… And to have a great team you have to have guys who have the humility to know when it’s time to step up. And when it’s time not to. For Payton, I’m very happy for him. He has retained a level of professionalism, preparation and just the toughness to just stay the course.” hammer said.
Pritchard finished the fight against Brooklyn with 9 points and 3 rebounds while shooting 57.1% from the field and 33.3% from deep to bolster Boston’s bench unit and improve their pace of play throughout the night.
Speaking to the media after Boston’s win over Brooklyn, Jayson Tatum spoke of his team having to sacrifice individual stats and accolades to continue working toward postseason success.
“Everyone has to make sacrifices to be on a great team. We have individual players coming off the bench who could start in most other teams. We have guys starting who might have more average in another team. But everyone will tell you how much fun and rewarding it was in last year’s playoffs to keep advancing, keep winning and make it to the finals. And no individual statistic or award can compare to being part of a winning team having fun. There’s nothing better than that.” said Tatum.
Boston will now turn its attention to the Charlotte Hornets, whom they face on Jan. 14 as they seek their 32nd win of the season and try to continue to put daylight between them and the Nets, who are currently three games behind in the Eastern Conference the second place.