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Let me start by stating I did not initiate the quote relating to Jaylen Brown possibly being "too smart for the League". The quote was supposedly made by an anonymous NBA executive prior to the 2016 draft (per TheUndefeated's Marc J. Spears):

This is the kind of 19-year-old NBA draft prospect who, for instance, chooses to enter the draft without an agent, a young man who one NBA executive said could be deemed “too smart for the league.”

Say hello to (Jaylen) Brown, the most interesting prospect of the 2016 NBA draft.

“I am who I am. Take it or leave it,” Brown said. “I’m not going to change my values and change my approach because someone feels uncomfortable. I am not going to be disrespectful or step on any toes. But I am going to be me.”

“It’s not malicious. He (Brown) just wants to know what is going on. Old-school coaches don’t want guys that question stuff.”

There you have it. That is the issue. As Celtics fans, our question concerns whether Brad Stevens is that type of old-school coach, and also if Celtics boss, Danny Ainge, is an old-school NBA exec. Here is my personal take. There is no such thing as too intelligent for the NBA unless that intelligence projects as brashness. As a player, no one portrayed brashness to the level of Ainge, and I will address that in Part 2. Now back to the intelligence and complexity of Jaylen.


Jaylen has been asked to speak to the students at Harvard University. He is excited about that. Brown is now playing for one of the most-storied teams in sports history in a city known for its high-level learning centers. I personally took a psychology course at Harvard as part of my Masters Program, and it was a terrific learning and personal experience. My wife, Linda, was part of both the Law School and Business School at Harvard for many years, in addition to taking many courses. She had this to say about Harvard being very special:

Such an historic campus. Entering Harvard Yard is stepping onto one of the most prestigious scholastic landscapes circled by buildings dating back centuries with the centerpiece being Weidner Library -- a center for research and learning

Harvard faculty come from so many disciplines and are usually innovators in their particular fields. Students are selected from the top echelon of their high schools Many are valedictorians and salutatorians.

The student body is diverse and bring a distinctively cosmopolitan flavor to the campus. It is a school for intellectuals who have a burning desire to learn and grow. This enthusiasm for knowledge is encouraged by a faculty who are some of the most dedicated professionals in the field of education.

Because of his performance at UC Berkeley, Jaylen will find studying at Harvard a challenging and interesting experience. He will find that with such a diverse and intellectual group of students from all over the world, it will be a stimulating experience resulting from a very smart decision. A Harvard degree is a hard-earned but worthwhile endeavor.

Jaylen Brown is only 21 years old, and he has a lot of plans for his future. He did mention that he is waiting to see if he stays in Boston long-term before deciding on going for a degree at Harvard. With Danny Ainge's all-consuming plan to assemble a perennial winner, the dark cloud of an impending trade always hangs overhead. Hopefully, that won't happen for Brown, and he can pursue the advancement of his basketball career and his intellectual progression right here in Bean Town.

Boston is where Jaylen belongs, being associated with the Celtics and Harvard University. Part 2 will cover Brown's fit with the Celtics, the intelligence-vs.-brashness issue and Danny Ainge's evolution from a brash youngster in the League to a top-level, brilliant executive.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Complex Original/David Cabrera

Tom Lane 1/22/2018 06:11:00 AM Edit
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