The Sixers hold the first pick in the 2016 NBA draft, but that doesn’t mean their evaluation is limited to projected top selections Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram. On Tuesday they held an individual workout for Cal’s Jaylen Brown. The forward is ranked in the top 10 of the draft class.
There is always the possibility the Sixers could acquire another lottery pick, and the team is doing its due diligence looking at other high-level players. The Sixers' invitation to work out does not necessarily mean they are going to make a trade to move up in the order. But if that opportunity presents itself, it is important to be ready on June 23.
Vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley said this is not an indication of the Sixers' draft plans, other than their interest in observing other top prospects.
“It’s just another prospect who we wanted to see and bring into Philadelphia,” Eversley said. “He’s one of those guys who’s up in that area that we’re looking at. He’s a high level prospect. As you saw today, he shoots the ball extremely well. He had a terrific year at Cal, and we just wanted to get him here in Philly and take another look at him.”
Brown entered the draft following his freshman season at Cal in which he averaged 14.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists, leading his team to a 4-seed in the NCAA Tournament. Brown shot 43.1 percent from the field, 29.4 percent from three and 65.4 percent from the line.
The Sixers wanted to get a closer look at Brown on offense. Eversley noted Brown shot “very well.” He noticed an improvement in Brown’s trajectory and mechanics.
“I think there’s a lot of misconceptions about if I can shoot the ball,” Brown said. “I think shooting 29 percent leaving college and coming to the NBA three-point line, they want to see the transition. I think I’m shooting the ball well above their expectations.”
Eversley described Brown as a “slasher” who can run the floor. He measured in at 6-foot-7, 223 pounds (5.05 percent body fat) with an 8-foot-6.5-inch standing reach and 6-foot-11.75-inch wingspan at the pre-draft combine last month.
“We all know he’s got great length,” Eversley said. “He’s a great athlete, he’s very explosive at the rim, he’s got a tremendous vertical.”
Brown was seen rubbing his right shoulder during the workout. He said he had bumped it in previous workouts and was a “little sore” and shrugged it off.
“It’s all right,” he said. “Nothing to worry about.”
Brown spoke to the Sixers about their rebuilding phase. He sees himself fitting with the team as a young wing who can run in transition.
Once in the NBA, Brown will look to adjust to the quicker pace of the game and shorter shot clock. He would like to develop into a two-way player who can both stop and score. He lists Kobe Bryant, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler and Russell Westbrook as players whose paths he'd like to follow during his career.
Brown is taking a unique approach to the NBA draft process: He chose not to hire an agent. Instead, he has been leaning on former NBA players such as Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas and fellow Cal alumnus Shareef Abdur-Rahim. This is different from other players who are heavily linked to their agents, such as Simmons. When asked Monday why the Sixers had not yet scheduled a workout with Simmons, president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo suggested asking his agent, Rich Paul.
“I’m not trying to knock agents,” Brown said. “I don’t think they are not important or anything. I just thought with my situation, the resources I’ve had and I have, I think it would have been stupid not to use [my resources].”
Brown has worked out with the Sixers, Lakers (No. 2 pick), Celtics (3), Suns (4) and Pelicans (6). He does not have workouts scheduled with any other teams, but believes he may be invited for a second visit from some of the aforementioned organizations.
“I’m not concerned with being a top whatever pick,” Brown said. “I want to be a top player in the NBA one day. This is just a milestone, this is just a checkpoint that I’m going through. I’ve still got a long way to go.”