The two prizes of the 2016 draft class are clearly Duke’s Brandon Ingram and LSU’s Ben Simmons. If the Lakers fall to the third pick, however, the options are far less clear, but one of the most intriguing is Cal’s Jaylen Brown.
The Lakers have a major need at the small forward position and Brown would certainly feel that void. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Brown had yet to officially declare for the draft, and many believe he was strongly considering returning to Cal for his sophomore year.
That will not be the case, however, as the Cal Men’s Basketball Twitter page announced that Brown has declared for the 2016 NBA Draft:
BREAKING: Jaylen Brown has announced his intention to declare for the 2016 NBA Draft. pic.twitter.com/AZq3v4QHvO
— Cal Men's Basketball (@CalMensBBall) April 21, 2016
Brown has a ton of potential as he has great size and length for the small forward position, is an excellent athlete, and can potentially be a lockdown defender, something that the Lakers sorely need. He is also great at attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line.
Brown does struggle as a shooter, however, and his ball-handling skills could use improvement as well. In general, he could have issues creating his own shot at the next level. Some also worry about his performance in both the Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments where he struggled mightily.
If the Lakers wind up third in the draft, Brown will surely get a long look as he fits a need. Players such as Buddy Hield and Dragan Bender would also be possibilities as would potentially trading the pick. Things will begin to take shape for the Lakers once the Draft Lottery takes place on May 17.