The Trail BlazersThe 2019-20 season is well established in the rearview mirror and 2020 Draft NBA Now on the horizon. As of now, the draft is scheduled to take place on November 18th. Unlike last year, the Blazers enter the process with two picks at their disposal. Portland currently has Pick No. 16 in the first round and No. 46 in the second round.
Today’s profile takes a look at All-American Ducks point guard Payton Pritchard. A college freshman for four years and a West Lane resident is a strong possibility in the second round as a potential captain out of the seat.
- Height: 6’2 ”
- Weight: 205
- Its wings: 6’4 ”
- Shoots: right
- position: PG
- Omar: 22
- Expected draft scope: 40-55
- PTS: 20.5 | Per 40: 22.4
- REB: 4.3 | Per 40: 4.7
- AST: 5.5 | Per 40: 6.1
- The Special Court for Lebanon: 1.5 | Per 40: 1.7
- FG%: 46.8
- 3P%: 41.5
- FT%: 82.1
Pritchard is a wily and brilliant veteran with a deluge of experience in big games. He’s an excellent playmaker who has taken on the offensive in Oregon through one of the greatest spins in school history, playing alongside NBA talent like Dillon Brooks, Jordan Bell, Chris Boucher, and Troy Brown Jr. Make the most of his limited athletic strength.
In addition to traditional point guard skills such as handling the ball, passing and seeing the ground, Pritchard has the ability to score on his own. His proficiency increased throughout his college career, culminating in a major season in which he set records as he averaged 20 points per match. Perhaps the aspect that will translate better to the next level is his three-point shot – which improved dramatically from his younger year (33%) to the year (42%), as he was tasked with carrying a much larger scoring.
His range also improved significantly, as he was in regular contact from further outside the NBA range during the 2019-20 season. At 6’2 “, this would help him take on much taller defenders at the next level.
For example, check out this silly game winner to complete the comeback on Washington Huskies in January:
Pritchard’s biggest weakness is undoubtedly his lack of exercise. While dominating the college game, play was much faster at the NBA level – like players. He will likely have a much tougher time to reach the edge, especially the finish against the bigger and stronger defenders that the NBA has to offer. Moreover, if he makes a foul, his free throw percentage is low – especially for such a strong outside shooter.
He is strong enough to hold his defense, but his lack of lateral velocity and almost no flanker will make difficult confrontations against the faster and longer rangers. Unfortunately, since this is something he really can’t control, there is probably not much room for improvement. Overall, it will likely have achieved its cap.
Pritchard led the depleted Duck Team to the regular season championship Pac-12 (the conference session was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and took home a laundry list honors the season finale, including the All-American First Team, Pac-12 Player of the Year and the Bob Cosie Awards – It was presented to the best goalkeeper in the country. He became the all-time assistant Oregon captain in late January, ending his career as the fourth goalscorer in basketball history at the Ducks.
Pritchard projects as a model reserve guard. His extra range of distance helps offset his sporting limitations. His vast experience should make him ready to contribute right away, albeit in a much smaller role than he used to in college – especially last season. His early career in Oregon, where he was surrounded by talent and more work as a facilitator, would facilitate the transition to the NBA.
As someone who will likely remain on the board when he selects the Blazers in the second round, Pritchard appears to be a perfect fit, as Portland lacks an obvious backup guard for Damian Lillard. The Dame averaged 37.5 minutes last season, the most since its rookie year. Anfernee Simons showed glimpses of game-making ability this year, but he’s still a goalkeeper first, and he’s not someone the Blazers could rely on with any kind of consistency in a regular role.