Five Facts: Nesmith, Pritchard, Teague, Thompson
The Boston Celtics have added four new faces to their roster over the past couple of weeks, with Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard joining via the Draft, and Jeff Teague and Tristan Thompson coming on board via free agency.
Now, it’s time to get to know them all a little better. We’ve dug up five fun facts on all four additions, so go ahead and familiarize yourselves with our newcomers before they embark on their first Celtics campaign.
Aaron Nesmith – Wing
The Celtics selected Nesmith out of Vanderbilt University with the 14th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Here are his five facts:
- Throughout his high school career in Charleston, South Carolina, Nesmith was mentored by fellow Porter-Gaud School alumnus and Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton. Nesmith has referred to Middleton as “a second father” and can’t wait to finally match up against him in an NBA game.
- Raised in an academically-oriented household, Nesmith chose to attend Vanderbilt University where he could both “excel in academics and do well in basketball.” His older brother, Eddie, is a senior at Harvard, where he is studying molecular and cellular biology.
- Along with his strong educational and athletic background, Nesmith is also a handyman. During his youth, he chopped trees, built chicken coops, dug multiple ponds, and learned how to drive a tractor.
- Nesmith’s 2019-20 scoring average of 23.0 points per game was the leading mark in the SEC, the fifth-leading mark in the nation, and the highest mark by any Vanderbilt player since Tom Hagan (23.4 PPG) in 1968-69.
- Throughout the pandemic, Nesmith stuck to a strict and consistent schedule. He told The Ringer that he wakes up every morning at 6:40 a.m. to hit the weight room for his first of three workouts of the day. He’s also been filming those workouts so that he can break down and improve his game.
Payton Pritchard – Ball Handler
The Celtics selected Pritchard out of the University of Oregon with the 26th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Here are his five facts:
- Pritchard is already familiar with several current Celtics players. He teamed up with Jayson Tatum at the 2016 Nike Hoop Summit, and then joined forces with Carsen Edwards and Romeo Langford in the summer of 2017 to compete with Team USA at the FIBA U19 World Cup. He also competed against Jaylen Brown in high school.
- Pritchard had a standout prep career in the Pacific Northwest, where he was a two-time Oregon Class 6A Player of the year, the 2015 Gatorade Oregon Player of the Year, and a four-time state champion at West Linn High School.
- During his freshman season at Oregon in 2016-17, Pritchard helped to lead the Ducks to their first Final Four appearance since 1939. He was the only freshman starter among all four teams remaining at that stage of the NCAA Tournament.
- As a senior in 2019-20, Pritchard averaged 20.5 points, 5.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game, while earning a mountain of accolades. He was named Pac-12 Player of the Year, was a consensus first-team All-American selection, won the Lute Olsen Award for the nation’s most outstanding non-freshman, and the Bob Cousy Award for the nation’s top point guard.
- Pritchard is the only player in Pac-12 history to record at least 1,900 career points, 600 assists and 500 rebounds. He finished his career as Oregon’s all-time leader in games played (144), minutes (4,854) and assists (659). He’s also second all-time in steals (211), 3-pointers (288), and fourth all-time in points (1,938).
Jeff Teague – Ball Handler
The veteran point guard joins the Celtics with 11 years of NBA experience under his belt. He previously played for Atlanta, Indiana and Minnesota.
- The most experienced player on the Celtics roster, Teague has logged 11 NBA seasons – seven and a half with Atlanta, two and a half with Minnesota, and one with his hometown Indiana Pacers – during which the 32-year-old has averaged 12.6 points, 5.8 assists, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game.
- The Indianapolis native attended Pike High School, which also happens to be where former Celtics players Courtney Lee and R.J. Hunter played prep ball.
- Jeff’s father, Shawn, played basketball at Missouri and Boston University, where he played under former Celtics coach Rick Pitino. Jeff also has four siblings, including Marquis, who played three seasons for the Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets and Memphis Grizzlies. Their cousin David Teague III also played eight years professionally both in the G League (formerly the D-League) and overseas.
- Teague was named an All-Star during the 2014-15 season when he averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 assists, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game while helping to guide Atlanta to a 60-22 record and the Eastern Conference regular-season title.
- One of the most durable players in the league, Teague missed fewer than three games per season from 2011-12 to 2016-17. He didn’t log a single absence during either the 2011-12 or 2016-17 seasons.
Tristan Thompson – Big
The veteran center joins the Celtics with eight years of NBA experience under his belt. He previously played for Cleveland.
- As Cleveland’s starting center in 2015-16, Thompson helped the Cavaliers capture their first NBA title over a heavily-favored Golden State team that had just won a record 73 regular-season games. Thompson and the Cavs made four consecutive trips to the Finals from 2015-18, making him the only current Celtics player with championship experience.
- Like Teague, Thompson has proven to be durable over the majority of his career. He set Cleveland’s franchise record by playing in 447 consecutive games, spanning from the 2011-12 season into the 2016-17 season.
- Thompson has averaged a double-double in points and rebounds in each of the last two seasons. The last Celtics player to average double-figures in the rebounding department was Al Jefferson in 2006-07.
- In 2013, Thompson founded the Amari Thompson Fund, which helps to raise money and awareness to support those affected from epilepsy. The Fund is named after Thompson’s younger brother, Amari, who has epilepsy and experiences seizures on a daily basis.
- The Canadian-born center officially became a U.S. citizen Nov. 24, 2020, just six days before signing with the Celtics. Of his newly-acquired citizenship, Thompson stated, “I came to the US on a student visa and have always had big dreams. I’m now truly living the American dream.”