When we hear talk of the 2016 NBA Draft, the typical names we here are Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, Dragan Bender, and now Buddy Hield is the new hot topic. The thing is, there are other prospects that could potentially go in the top ten, even the top five, and one of those prospects is Cal freshman Jaylen Brown. Brown, 19, measures in at 6'7, 225 pounds, and although he is still growing into his body, he's already extremely strong and NBA ready from a strength and athleticism standpoint. Brown plays with a physicality that isn't normally seen in players his age, and that will definitely help him as he adjusts to the NBA game. Brown was the number one ranked high school prospect by Scout.com in 2014.
Brown's first step is extremely fast, using his jab step to setup defenders, and then using his explosiveness to get to the basket. Brown isn't afraid of contact either, so when he goes to the rim, he can shoot through contact and that will get him to the free throw line in the NBA. Considering he was just a freshman this past season, he's going to continue to get better at getting to the rim and drawing contact.
In 2015/16, Brown averaged 14.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.6 blocks, and he shot 43% from the field (29% from three). Like a lot of young players, he needs to gain more consistency in his shot, but as long as he works at it, he'll improve. Defensively, he's a handful; he was excellent in high school and he continued the trend in his one year at Cal. His size and quickness gives him the ability to cover pretty much every position except for center, and with the amount of small-ball being played in the NBA, Brown will excel on defense (and offense) versus those lineups.
Another strong part of Brown's game is transition, and that is one of the reason's he is so high on the Celtics list. Brad Stevens wants his guys to run and get as many shots as possible; it's the best way to win consistently. Teams that defensive rebound, play defense, and take a ton of shots tend to win a lot of games, and that is what the Celtics are trying to do every night. Brown would fit in very nicely, and he also would fill a huge hole at the small forward position. Jae Crowder is good, but Boston needs someone that can be a superstar at that spot, and that would allow them to move Crowder around and make him even more dangerous.
Brown does need a lot of work on him game, and it starts with gaining consistency in his shot mechanics. When he gets frustrated, he also tries to do too much, another trait that great young players tend to have. Brown is also to right-hand dominant right now, and if he wants to become a great all-around NBA player, he'll need to work hard on his left hand. Brown needs to become more of a student of the game because he won't be able to use his size and strength to overcome everyone. He's never had to that in his young career so it is going to be a major challenge. Brown would be lucky if he's able to get on a team with an established star so he can learn what it takes to get to that level.
Check out Brown's highlights from 2015/16 below, courtesy of RIC Mixes/Youtube:
High School Mixtape Courtesy of Ballislife/YouTube
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