Celtics draft pick Jaylen Brown has Boston inside him

Naveen Ganglani
'My work ethic will speak for itself,' says Jaylen Brown

WELCOME TO THE BIG STAGE. Jaylen Brown walks up the stage of the 2016 NBA Draft after getting picked by his team. Photo by EPA/JASON SZENES

MANILA, Philippines – The Boston Celtics used the third pick in the 2016 NBA Draft to take University of California, Berkeley product Jaylen Brown. What the franchise gets is a 6-foot-17, 19-year-old forward who is strong for his size, can score well in the paint, and already has the traits of the city he’ll play for inside him.

“Just by being passionate, just by being myself, wearing my heart on my sleeve and just going to war for this city every night,” Brown said of what Celtics fans can expect of him to international media via Cisco video chat after getting drafted on Thursday, June 23 (Friday, June 24, Manila time). 

“It’s funny,” said the 2016 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, “because Boston kind of matches my personality – a tough passionate city – so I can’t wait.”

Brown, a Marietta, Georgia native, averaged 14.6 points and 4.5 rebounds a game for the Golden Bears last NCAA season. Although some mock drafts had him falling to below the top 5, the Celtics made a surprising move by not trading away their pick and taking Brown at number 3.

Boston was linked to a few teams in trade rumors before the NBA draft, notably the Philadelphia 76ers and Chicago Bulls.

”It means good. It’s a surreal moment. It means a lot,” Brown said about being drafted. “I know there were a lot of rumors going around what Boston was going to do, so it’s humbling and I’m super excited to be here.”

The Celtics entered the 2016 NBA Draft with 8 draft picks and used its first on Brown. The franchise is coming off a season where it made the NBA Playoffs again, losing to the Atlanta Hawks in 6 games in the first round as the number 5 seed.

Despite having only one All-Star, Isaiah Thomas, complemented by good role players, Boston was one of the best teams in the NBA last season, mainly due to the tactics of its head coach, Brad Stevens, who employed a fast-paced, defensive-oriented system.

“I expect him to be honest with me, I expect him to push me, [and] I expect him to lead us to the promise land,” Brown said about the head coach he’s going to play for, who used to coach Butler in the NCAA and led the school to two national championship game appearances.

“Boston is a tough team,” Brown said, when asked about his thoughts on last season’s Celtics, who went 28-13 at home. “They have a lot of wings that can guard multiple positions. Versatility is very key for them. When they play at home, they play very hard, they play very strong.”

Although he’s a talented scorer, that’s not the quality Brown sees himself contributing to the Celtics right away. “What I want to add [for them] is defense,” he said. “I want to add energy. I want to be a person that can be a dynamic wing player. That’s what I want to add, and bring some energy to the city.”

The newest Celtic also sees a bright future ahead for the team, even if it won’t arrive right away.

“Everything takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. I know they have a lot of legacy like you said and a lot of history, but I just can’t wait to add to that,” he said.

“My work ethic will speak for itself. I [will] push myself beyond these limits, and if I do, if I continue that mold, the sky is the limit for me.” – Rappler.com