The Boston Celtics selected former Cal forward Jaylen Brown with the third pick in the first round of the NBA Draft on Thursday. Brown is the 10th Cal player to be drafted in the first round and the first since 2008, when the New Jersey Nets selected Ryan Anderson with the 21st pick.
“I’m happy to be a part of the family. I know Boston has a lot of history, a lot of tradition, and I want to add to that,” Brown said in his post-draft press conference.
Brown was ranked seventh on ESPN’s Big Board and figures to fit into the wing rotation on the Celtics along with Jae Crowder. He has the size and wingspan — at six-foot-seven and seven feet, respectively — to play the four in small-ball lineups. He will be joining a team with some work to do, as they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs last season, but Brown will get the luxury of playing alongside an All-Star in Isaiah Thomas.
The Celtics, however, have been involved with a series of trade rumors in the leadup to the draft, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Brown on the move in the coming days.
Brown, who committed to the Bears along with Ivan Rabb last year, gave Cal one of the highest rated recruiting classes in the nation. The two freshmen, along with Tyrone Wallace, who is still waiting for his name to be called on draft night, led the Bears to the NCAA Tournament where they were a four seed, the best in program history. Cal, however, ended up losing its first game of the tournament against Hawaii, in part because of Brown’s struggles in the game.
This came after a strong season for Brown, who was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. He was one of the Bears’ most prolific scorers, averaging 14.6 points per game while making 43.1 percent of his shots from the field. He scored at least 20 points in six of his games and chipped in an average of 5.4 boards and 2.0 assists per game on the season.
His lackluster three-point percentage held him back from being selected higher, however, as he made only 29.4 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. Brown already has an NBA body and elite athleticism and is projected to be one of the players with the highest ceilings in the draft class.
“He’s a guy who can pretty much do anything on the floor,” said Cal head coach Cuonzo Martin. “You’re talking about Jaylen Brown at 19 years old. You can only imagine where he’ll be at 22, 23 or 24.”