Gilbert Brown to attend Celtics camp

Gilbert Brown to attend Celtics camp
December 6, 2011, 8:14 pm
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WALTHAM The days of wanting to be like Mike are long gone.

For guys like Pittsburgh's Gilbert Brown, it's all about wanting to be like Wesley - as in, Wesley Matthews.

Matthews took the NBA by storm two years ago in Utah, putting up big numbers despite being an undrafted rookie.

He was rewarded with a five-year, 26.8 million contract by Portland in July of 2010.

Brown, undrafted in last June's NBA draft, is hoping to follow a similar blueprint for success in Boston.

CSNNE.com has learned that Brown will be with the Celtics when training camp begins on Friday.

"He had a number of options that he considered, but ultimately felt the Celtics were the best fit, best situation for him," his agent, T.J. Doyle, told CSNNE.com on Tuesday.

The Celtics were very close to selecting him in the second round of last June's NBA draft, but instead went with Purdue combo guard E'Twaun Moore.

Ainge didn't waste much time after the draft reaching out to Brown, to reassure him that the Celtics' interest in him was still very strong.

"He (Ainge) told me I could be the Wesley Matthews of this draft," Brown told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Of all the teams I worked out for, Danny was the most excited to have me in. He really feels like I can make their team and contribute the first year. He was really confident in my ability. He felt like I stood out in my workout."

In speaking with a league source whose team had Brown in for a workout, he said, "I don't know about the Wesley Matthews comparisons. I don't think he (Brown) shoots the ball that well, and I don't think he can score the way Wesley does. But the Celtics don't need that. He gives them a guy who has the potential to be a really good defender, the kind of defender they haven't had since Tony Allen, really."

At 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, Brown has the physical size and strength to defend all three perimeter positions.

But for all that he brings to the floor defensively, his ability to score in the NBA and whether his ceiling for improvement has been reached, were among the reasons every NBA team passed on selecting him in June.

Teams applaud bringing in four-year players like Brown, but the fact that he's 24 years old certainly worked against him in the eyes of team executives on draft night.

While his potential to grow may be a concern down the road, his experience should bode well for a Celtics team looking to add an athletic wing player who can come in and contribute immediately.

There's still the matter of him making the team, obviously.

But the chances of him not sticking with the C's and their roster that currently stands at six with guaranteed contracts, are slim.

"He's really excited about this opportunity," Doyle said. "He comes from a structured system at Pitt, so the adjustment to Doc Rivers' system won't be that big an adjustment. And the things that he does well, are the kind of things I know Doc Rivers truly appreciates. It should be a good fit, for both sides."