NBA Draft report for Bronny James

nba draft report for bronny james

Bronny James.

There are plenty of polarizing players in the 2024 NBA Draft, but none of them are capable of providing toxic discourse quite like Bronny James.

Being LeBron James’ son has put a target on Bronny, and a tough freshman season at USC didn’t do him any favors. Now, when Bronny is mentioned as a prospect in the 2024 NBA Draft, people roll their eyes and say that it’s only because he's the son of one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

But Bronny was the 20th ranked player in the 2023 ESPN 100, and that was because of what he showed while attending Sierra Canyon. He’s a good basketball player, and there were a lot of reasons his lone college season didn’t go as planned.

Bronny only averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game for the Trojans last season, and he shot just 36.6% from the floor and 26.7% from three. Make no mistake about it, against Pac-12 competition, those numbers are unacceptable. However, a reasonable argument can be made that Bronny’s entire first season should be flushed.

It seems to go completely unrecognized these days, but Bronny went into cardiac arrest while working out on the USC campus in late July. It was later determined that a congenital heart defect caused the scary incident, but he ended up being cleared to resume basketball activities a few weeks later.

But it was a life-threatening situation for Bronny. And while he was able to get on the court for USC early in the season, he didn’t have a normal training camp and he needed to be slowly ramped up to start the year.

Bronny also played for a USC team that featured two ball-dominant guards, with Isaiah Collier and Boogie Ellis making up the starting Trojans backcourt. Both of those players got the first cracks at running the show, which put Bronny in a tough position on the court.

While Bronny isn’t a traditional point guard, he’s a good pick-and-roll ball handler and probably should have gotten a lot more on-ball reps last season. In fact, Synergy Sports had USC scoring 0.947 points per 100 possessions with Bronny as a P&R ball handler, which put him in the 83rd percentile in the nation (considered “Very Good”).

On top of that, neither Collier nor Ellis really did their jobs in generating good looks for teammates. Of course, Bronny should have done a better job of burying his triples last season. But Bronny was a good shooter throughout his high school career, and he shot 19-for-25 from three in the shooting drill at the NBA Draft Combine. That was the second-best shooting performance of anybody at the event.

Bronny also happens to sport extremely clean mechanics, making it easy to buy into him as a knockdown shooter at the next level. If Bronny’s three-point shooting does end up translating, it just isn’t hard to picture a world in which he’s an effective two-way guard — even if it’s for 15 to 20 minutes a night.

Bronny might only stand at 6-foot-1, but he has a 6-foot-7 wingspan, which has helped him rebound well for a guard. He can also really defend. Whether it’s getting up on ball handlers at the point of attack or just creating some havoc with his off-ball defense, he’s going to be a good defensive option at the next level. And players that can shoot the three and disrupt guards defensively have a place in most NBA rotations.

We mostly think of 3-and-D prospects as wings, but Bronny can make a similar impact at the guard position. Deuce McBride recently played great minutes for the New York Knicks in the playoffs, and there are quite a few similarities between the two.

Bronny even offers a little more than just spot-up shooting ability. As previously mentioned, he’s not a player that you want running your offense, but he’s an explosive athlete that makes good pick-and-roll decisions. And he just generally makes a lot of winning basketball plays.

Bronny can be a valuable secondary playmaker, making for a great fit on a team with a big ball handler. That’s actually part of what is intriguing about the idea of him playing with his dad. But Bronny can be a good connective piece for a lot of teams. His NBA future shouldn’t come down to whether or not he ends up with the Lakers.

Overall, it’s somewhat understandable that people have a little fatigue when it comes to Bronny’s name, but he is very much a real NBA prospect. He has helped himself a lot throughout the pre-draft process, reminding scouts and front office executives why he was a borderline five-star recruit coming out of high school.

With that in mind, don’t be surprised if Bronny out-performs his draft position. But even if he doesn’t, it’d be nice to see some positive discussion surrounding the 19-year-old. He has handled these last few years with some real maturity, and he seems to go about his business the right way.

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