Boston Celtics

Pritchard has a great mindset about playing for USA Select Team

"I don't understand anybody who wouldn't want to be here."

NBC Universal, Inc.

Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday aren't the only members of the 2024 NBA champion Boston Celtics who had abbreviated summer breaks.

While Tatum and Holiday reported to Las Vegas late last week for USA Basketball training camp as members of the squad that will compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics, their teammate, Payton Pritchard, joined them on the court playing for the USA Select Team, a group of 15 players assembled to scrimmage against Team USA from July 6-8.

This is Pritchard's second Select Team experience after joining the group last summer ahead of the 2023 FIBA World Cup. This time around, the 26-year-old joined a roster that included promising young NBA players such as Charlotte's Brandon Miller and Orlando's Jalen Suggs -- as well as the projected No. 1 pick in the 2025 NBA Draft, Maine native Cooper Flagg -- to battle against Tatum, Holiday and Team USA.

And if you know Pritchard, you know he didn't think twice about joining the Select Team in Las Vegas despite a less-than-three-week layoff after the Celtics secured Banner 18 on June 17.

"I don't understand anybody who wouldn't want to be here," Pritchard told NBC Sports Boston's Chris Forsberg on Sunday, as seen in the video player above. "You get to go against the best players in the world, see where your game's at, try to improve, take a lot of things from the best and keep adding it to your game."

Pritchard is coming off his best season as a pro: He averaged career highs in minutes per game (22.3), points per game (9.6) and assists per game and was the only Celtic to play in all 82 regular-season games, carving out a role as a key rotation player on a loaded roster.

Pritchard also played in every postseason game, meaning he's seen action in 101 games since last October. And while the fourth-year veteran is a gamer, he's eager to get some downtime after training camp concluded Sunday.

"I'll probably actually now get to celebrate it a little bit more," Pritchard told Forsberg about the balance of soaking in Boston's championship versus preparing for the Select Team. "I feel like I celebrated for about a week, and then I tried to get back training (to) get ready for this.

"So, now I get a little break and enjoy it with friends and family and I'm looking forward to it."'

The Celtics will have a quick turnaround, though: They'll report to 2024 training camp early (Sept. 26) to prepare for a pair of preseason games in Abu Dhabi against the Denver Nuggets. Not that Pritchard minds; in fact, he fully expects his team to be ready to defend its title.

"I don't really think we need to talk about what's ahead or next season because we already know what we want to do," Pritchard added. "Everybody wants to play ball and everybody wants to win another championship. That shouldn't have to be said.

"We're going to come in with the same attitude and same approach, and that's to win -- and kill."

Check out Pritchard's full interview with Forsberg in the video player above.

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