The Boston Celtics picked 19-year-old Jaylen Brown, a six-foot, seven-inch small forward out of the University of California — after rumors flew around the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, where the 2016 NBA Draft is taking place, and across the internet that Boston General Manager Danny Ainge was planning to trade the No. 3 selection for Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls.
While there remains a chance that Brown himself could be dealt by Ainge, as of 8:45 p.m. Eastern Time, Brown appeared to be the answer to the question that Celtics and NBA fans had pondered throughout the 2015-2016 season. With the high draft pick acquired from the hapless Brooklyn Nets, who would the fast-developing Celtics pick to try to take their team deeper into the playoffs than the first-round exits of 2015 and 2016?
With the 3rd pick in the NBA Draft, the Celtics select Jaylen Brown. pic.twitter.com/Ys3XNuyx5i
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) June 23, 2016
Brown was a five-star recruit out of Marietta, Georgia, who played just one season at Cal — but started all 34 of the Golden Bears games. Brown averaged 14.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, with a high of 27 points as he pushed Cal to an undefeated 18-0 home record.
— NBA (@NBA) June 24, 2016
— kindy Dramé (@83Kindy) June 24, 2016
Guerschon Yabusele: “I’m going to try and be an energizer for this team.”
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) June 24, 2016
But the immediate reaction to the Celtics pick of Brown by NBA experts and Celtics fans was one of skepticism, with one NBA correspondent referring to the selection as “botched pick” by Boston that could give other NBA teams additional leverage in trying to work out trades with the Celtics.
But Jaylen Brown is a Celtic — at least for the time being — and the following video serves as a quick introduction to the newest member of the 17-time NBA Champions.
In addition to the rumored Butler deal, the Celtics were also linked to the Philadelphia 76ers in a prospective deal for 22-year-old center Nerlens Noel, a natve of Malden, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb. But if the Sixers are still interested in a trade with the Celtics, they may now be able to draw a higher price for Noel.
“Not a bad pick if they wanted to continue talking to the Sixers,” wrote Fansided 76ers correspondent Josh Wilson. “But a poor pick if they really wanted to get the most out of the Sixers. The Sixers like Brown, but could easily live without him.”
According to a report on the SF Gate news site, which covers the University of California team, in the Bay Area city of Berkeley, Brown may be one of the best pure athletes ever taken in the NBA draft. His 233-pounds measure at a mere 5.1 percent body fat.
In addition to his athleticism, Brown also comes with a high level of intellect. Though he was only a freshman in his one year at the University of California, he took and passed at least one graduate-level course.
— NBPA (@TheNBPA) June 23, 2016
As a youngster, Brown was captain of his middle school chess team and once challenged the 9-year-old national champion, Nico Chasin, to a match.
“Nico beat him pretty soundly, but Jaylen was super respectful about it,” said Bryan Quick, executive director of Brown’s middle school chess program. “It was just nice to see he wasn’t afraid to take on anybody, even a third-grader.”
After trade rumors swirl, Boston Celtics take Jaylen Brown at No. 3: https://t.co/pxCvSKdgvA
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) June 23, 2016
But Brown’s other interests have led some NBA observers to question his commitment to basketball, especially as his performance on the court at Cal never seemed to match up with his athletic ability or potential.
“I think he’s a wild card because he’s a guy teams try to convince themselves into falling in love with,” one NBA scout told SF Gate. “He has the look of an NBA superstar, but he just hasn’t had the production to back it up.”
Boston Celtics fans registered their unhappiness with the draft selection of Jaylen Brown, reportedly booing Celtics owner Wyc Grousbec after the pick was announced.
[Featured Photo By Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]