Divisive prospect Jaylen Brown declares for NBA draft, hiring agent

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
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Jaylen Brown has been hyped as an NBA prospect for years.

After a shaky season at Cal, he’ll get a chance to prove the attention was justified.

Connor Letourneau of SFGate:

Jaylen Brown said Thursday morning that he will make himself available for the 2016 NBA Draft.

The announcement, made during an on-campus news conference, came three days before the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft. Brown plans to officially forgo his remaining college eligibility by hiring an agent.

Based on name recognition and the eye test, Brown is in the mix to go No. 3 behind Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram. But a closer look reveals many concerns.

Brown has an NBA body. The small forward is 6-foot-7, long, strong and athletic. He’ll also turn 20 before his first NBA season.

He often put his advanced physical profile to good use at Cal, forcing his way inside and generating a ton of free throws (though he shot just 65% from the line). Can he draw so many fouls against NBA defenders? His poor outside shooting (29% on 3s) won’t have anyone guarding him tightly on the perimeter, making it even harder to attack.

Brown is too sloppy offensively, forcing difficult shots and turning the ball over. If he changes those bad habits, he has all the tools to be a good pro.

He’s further along defensively, and that could be his ticket to getting on the court and learning offense on the job.

Opinion is divided on Brown. This draft drops considerably after the top two, which helps him. It’s one thing not to like his game. It’s another to find a prospect you’re convinced will fare better.

Some teams might not have Brown rated in the lottery, but I believe at least one in position to select him will. Determining the draft order could have a big effect on when Brown gets picked.