Boston Celtics first-round picks Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard each earned praise from teammate Grant Williams recently and they also both received recent approval from Jayson Tatum.
Williams raved about their willingness to learn so far as both players have been asking questions and paying attention closely during training camp. The two rookies have also left an impression on Williams with their work ethic on and off the court.
Tatum took the opportunity on Thursday during a Zoom call with reporters to evaluate Nesmith and Pritchard to this point and the All-Star had a glowing review, according to Chris Grenham of Forbes.
Tatum on the Celtics rookies:
“I like those guys. They work hard. Aaron can really shoot. He’s really physically gifted, athleticism and strength wise. Payton, obviously he can shoot the ball really well. He really knows how to play. He competes at a high level and I like that.”
— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) December 10, 2020
Nesmith averaged 23 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 14 games before his season ended on Jan. 8 due to a foot injury. He said during his introductory press conference that he is fully healthy now and ready to play this season.
Meanwhile, Pritchard was the Pac-12 Player of the Year after averaging 20.5 points, 5.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals last season as a senior. He was considered by some to be a second-round pick but impressed teams during the pre-draft process and was taken late in the first round.
The two rookies are still in the process of adjusting to the speed of the NBA but both figure to play a key role with the Celtics this season once they are comfortable on the court.
Boston will begin preseason play on Tuesday vs. the Philadelphia 76ers.
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