When the Boston Celtics face the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7 of the NBA East Series, the hype and pregame ads focus on Giannis Antetokounmpo against their team’s star Jason On Tatum. (Tatum is the Celtics’ leading scorer, while Giannis Antetokounmpo, known as the “Greek Freak,” is the Bucks star.)
Someone forgot to tell Celtics’ Payton Pritchard about his role in this story.
Pritchard hasn’t seen much minutes on a team led by Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but when he’s called, he’ll do what he’s good at. When the Celtics found themselves struggling to score in the first quarter and trailing the Bucks by nine points, Pritchard came off the bench and made a quick and efficient 3-pointer. In the next quarter, the score was 30-30, and Da Mo could grab it. Pritchard sent a textbook assist to his teammate Horford at the basket.
There’s a moment in every game when the team behind — even the dominated team — has time to come back. In professional basketball, that “grace period” is surprisingly late — even late in the middle of the fourth quarter. After the Celtics took control and the Bucks struggled to make a comeback, Pritchard once again proved himself to be different. His points, assists and rebounds — sometimes even from Bucks players — killed Milwaukee’s slim hope of a comeback.
“Payton Pritchard is the hardest working man on the field right now,” the TV commentator said of the game’s highlights. “He’s giving energy to every one of his teammates.”
“That’s what I did,” an elated Pritchard roared gleefully from the bench as one of his four 3-pointers buried and stepped back onto the court. Earlier in the regular season, after an equally impactful performance, Pritchard reflected more deeply on his motivations. When asked how he motivates himself as a ‘sub’ player, he admits: “As a competitor, it’s tough. But I just try to be prepared. I go to work every day and get better and better. , so when my opportunity comes, I can make the most of it to help my team win. That’s all I can control.”
While all eyes were on the Celtics and Bucks stars, a man who regularly appeared in the “sub” column of the scoresheet made himself the star of his role. No wonder Boston coach Ime Udoka has been talking about the trust his players have in each other, the basis for his willingness to expect his entire team to contribute in tense situations.
“That’s it, we’re a team,” said Jaylen Brown, one of the Celtics’ most talented players. “In this series, we’ve shown how versatile we can be to win in a number of ways.” While the Bucks rely heavily on their No. 1 player, the Celtics star can be seen looking to put the The ball went to the reliable Pritchard — and Grant Williams, who scored 27 points — to drop on 3-pointers. Bucks.
The great character actor Konstantin Stanislavski famously said, “There are no small roles, only small actors.” This observation applies not only to setting individual performance goals, but also to building high-performing teams . The Celtic Bucks series raises an interesting question about the culture that applies to business and sports. Which would you rather have as a leader: the brightest star in the world, looking to carry teammates on your shoulders, or a group of contributors looking to each other to be the star of whatever role they play on the team?
It’s not a six-in-one problem because there are Yes The fundamental difference in mindset between building a team around a single star and building a team around the concept of a team. In the first example, you operate on the belief that you can be too big or too good to fail. In the second case, you operate by believing that you have only the weakest part.
Yes, in both cases you assign different people different roles based on their skill sets. But the difference is, notably, what you expect from your entire organization.
As we pointed out in this field a few weeks ago, Boston has made its territory a team first standard template 2022 playoffs. While much of the media was content to focus on the star or “Big Three” drama, the Celtics continued to focus on “playing like a team,” as they have done throughout the year.
As Pritchard said, that’s what they do.