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The Celtics were down two starters, Marcus Smart (right ankle sprain) and Robert Williams (left ankle sprain), in Saturday's 125-121 win over the Lakers, sweeping this season's edition of the NBA's most iconic rivalry, thanks to, in part, a controversial no-call.

But even with Boston playing shorthanded, Payton Pritchard received six minutes of floor time. He started the second quarter and subbed out at the 7:33 mark after missing his only shot attempt of the night, a missed three. The hosts outscored the purple and gold 8-4 during his shift, extending their lead from 28-27 to 36-31 when Al Horford replaced him.

As often as Pritchard's had to watch most, and sometimes the entire game, from the bench, it's painful to get relegated to a spectator after that.

In his third NBA campaign, the former Oregon Duck is averaging 4.9 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 1.1 assists. While he's proven himself as a shooter his entire basketball life, the challenge of trying to live up to that reputation on 12.5 minutes and limited attempts per contest has translated to him taking 2.8 threes and converting them at only a 33 percent clip.

In a recent appearance on the Point Forward podcast with Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner, Pritchard opened up about his desire for an opportunity that allows him to make more of an impact.

Andre Iguodala: "Walk me through the next 5 or 10 years for yourself."

Payton Pritchard: "Obviously, after I’m done here, after this year, I’d like to look -- be a part of a bigger role a little bit."

Iguodala: "You should want that."

Pritchard: "I definitely do. It’s obviously what I work for. I think that’s what Brad and them know, too. We’ve had that discussion but -- a bigger role. I want to be part of a winning culture, but I want to also help that, be a really big piece of that. I’m not saying it’s the best player on the team, but I don’t know what my future holds unless I can take that next step. I don’t know what it is in five or 10 years, but I just want to look back and know that I put my best foot forward. I put all the work in so whatever happens I can live with, as long as I did it my way. That’s the most important thing for me."

Pritchard wouldn't be playing basketball at the game's highest level if he was content with the role he's in.

As he put it on the heels of the Celtics' 106-104 win over the Raptors, a game where he scored 12 points in the final frame, knocking down four of six threes, "I wouldn’t be in the position I am today without having a tough mindset."

The undersized guard added, "a lot of people look at me, and I’m (a) 6-foot-1 white American guard, a lot of us aren’t there. So we gotta be tough and bring it every day."

Still, his team has no obligation to trade him. Not before the Feb. 9 trade deadline and not over the summer unless it deems the return's worth doing so.

Shortly before the season began, Boston exercised Pritchard's $4.04 million team option for the 2023-24 campaign. His rookie deal also includes a $5.96 million club option for 2024-25.

However, with Malcolm Brogdon and Derrick White under contract through 2025, the Celtics must decide whether he's more valuable to their championship aspirations as an insurance policy or in a trade to upgrade their rotation.

Inside The Celtics examined the case for keeping Pritchard and trading him, including the merit of giving him more playing time.

Further Reading

1:1 with Paul Pierce on What the Celtics-Lakers Rivalry Means to Him; Jayson Tatum's Growth, His Evaluation of Boston's Season, and More

Here's What Stood Out in Celtics' Win vs. Lakers: The Call That Never Came Helps Boston Rally to Sweep LA

The Top 5 Plays from the Celtics-Lakers Game

Boston Fans May Not Want to Look at NBA's L2M Report from Celtics-Lakers OT Showdown