Let’s flash it back to the 2016 NBA Draft for this edition of ‘Remember When.’ You had your bonafide top two players in Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram, but then there was the third pick… The Celtics had that third pick and there were a handful of players that could go third overall. It was one of those drafts in which you truly were going to be surprised with whoever’s name got announced.
Well, Jaylen Brown was the name that was announced. With the third pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics took Jaylen Brown, the freshman out of California. Looking back on it, Celtics fans were less than thrilled at the Boston draft party. Owner Wyc Grousbeck even came out of the war room to address the fans after hearing the booing roars of Celtics fans… he was then personally booed as well…
“Fourteen years, that’s probably the worst [reaction] I’ve gotten,” Grousbeck said.
KJ Doyle, Editor in Chief here at Guy Boston Sports, was at the 2016 NBA Draft. He told me he “walked up to another Celtics fan in the building and jokingly said something about Jaylen Brown being a future MVP and [the fan] couldn’t have looked more discouraged.”
Based on that, I would say Celtics Nation truly didn’t believe in Jaylen at all. There were other guys like Jamal Murray and Buddy Hield that Celtics fans wanted over him just based on skill. However, in my opinion, if you were looking at who could physically hang with the big boys immediately, Jaylen Brown was your guy. Now, you could still make the argument that those two are better than Jaylen Brown in the NBA today… fine… that is your opinion. But regardless, I think Jaylen Brown has proven everyone that doubted him wrong. Now, in Celtics fans’ defense, there was a promise of “fireworks” from the organization which led people to believe there may be a trade involved. That definitely had something to do with the negative outcry, but we did technically get those “fireworks.” They just came from Jaylen Brown a few years later. In just his fourth season he is averaging 20 points and just under 7 rebounds. That is all-star worthy in my book.
It is pretty remarkable to look back at Jaylen and think people didn’t believe in him back then. Hell, even this past offseason the haters came out of the woodworks questioning his payday. Now he is a core piece of one of the best teams in the league and Jaylen Brown haters seem to be pretty quiet. Go figure… it is like Danny Ainge is better at being a GM than all of us… who would’ve guessed it!
Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler /NBAE/Getty Images