Nesmith, Pritchard Wasting No Time Acclimating with Celtics

BOSTON – Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard are not wasting any time acclimating themselves to the NBA lifestyle. Despite being only six days removed from the 2020 Draft, the newest members of the Boston Celtics are already settling into their new city, where they've begun working out and gearing up for a new season and a new way of life.

“It’s definitely been an exciting time,” Pritchard, the 26th overall pick out of Oregon, said Tuesday afternoon during an introductory press conference for both himself and Nesmith, his fellow rookie teammate. “I’ve been starting workouts and getting going, but just trying to be a sponge and soak everything up and get ready for the season. Obviously it’s starting really quickly, so just trying to learn fast and get going.”

Nesmith and Pritchard, along with the entire 2020 rookie class, are in for a challenge this season in that they are being thrown straight into the ocean before getting their feet wet. Rather than having several months to absorb a new system and develop chemistry with their new teammates as is typically the case, this year’s class only has a few weeks to prepare for the 2020-21 season.

“That’s why we’re here right now,” said Nesmith, the 14th overall pick out of Vanderbilt. “To kind of get ahead of the curve, try and soak in all that we can and try to make this a fluid transition as fast as possible. It’s going to be a big jump for both of us going in. We didn’t get summer league, so we didn’t get to get our feet wet. Being able to compete with [the veterans] right now and learn from these guys right now, will be a huge advantage for us.”

Pritchard and Nesmith are both trying not to overthink their transition from college into the pros, as they are looking to bring the same type of energy and work ethic that has paved their successful paths thus far.

Pritchard is the type of player with whom Celtics fans will fall in love: a scrappy, hard worker who can contribute in many ways (he is the only player in Pac 12 history to tally at least 1,900 points, 500 rebounds and 600 assists.)

Nesmith, meanwhile, has the potential to turn into the lethal sharpshooter specialist that the Celtics have been needing of late. Last season at Vanderbilt, he averaged 23.0 points per game while shooting a school-record 52.2 percent from 3-point range. And he believes that he’ll have no issue carrying such a skill over to the NBA level.

“For me, nothing changes,” Nesmith elaborated. “My warm-up doesn’t change, my form doesn’t change, my footwork doesn’t change. So as long as I continue to work on those things, continue to perfect those attributes to my game, there’s no reason for my shot not to translate from one level to the next.”

Of course, there will be other elements that Nesmith and Pritchard will have to grow accustomed to as quickly as possible, but they are both excited to face whatever challenges await.

“It’s going to be a quick learning curve,” Pritchard stated. “I think we’re both looking forward to it, getting to jump in and get right to it. During this quarantine, we’ve both been training hard and getting ready anyway, so it’ll be nice to get right through training camp and start the season.”


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