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Bronny James is expected to remain in 2024 NBA Draft: Sources



Bronny James is expected to remain in 2024 NBA Draft: Sources

By Shams Charania, Lukas Weese and Sam Vecenie

Bronnie Jamesthe son of NBA superstar LeBron James, is expected to stay in the league 2024 NBA Draftleague sources said.

James, who suffered cardiac arrest last July, before returning to the field for his freshman season at USC, has been fully cleared to play by the N.B.A‘s Fitness to Play Panel and will participate in all pre-draft activities beginning with the NBA Draft Combine this week.

Although not considered a top prospect, James was not included The Athletics‘s post-lottery mock draft Sunday – his last name and his journey back to the field after a serious health crisis make him one of the standout players in this year’s draft class.

There’s also the added intrigue of whether James and his father could become teammates. LeBron has expressed a wish to end his career playing alongside his son.


What did Bronny James show at the NBA Draft Combine?

The younger James collapsed after suffering cardiac arrest during a USC team training in July. This is what a family spokesperson said a congenital heart defect caused the incident. The doctors cleared him to return to practice four months later, and on December 10 he made his college debut Long Beach State. He appeared in USC’s final 25 games, starting six and averaging 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 19.3 minutes.

The questions surrounding his future gained momentum when his college coach at USC, Andy Enfield, left for the head coach vacancy at SMU in March.

James, 19, declared for the NBA Draft on April 5. He also entered the transfer portal to maintain flexibility while training for NBA teams.

After the coaching change at USC, LeBron said that Bronnie had “some tough decisions to make” regarding his future.

“At the end of the day, Bronny is his own man,” LeBron said in April.

The younger James’ decision comes ahead of a big decision for his father, who will have to decide whether to exercise his $51.4 million player option for the 2024-2025 season before June 29. Team sources said last month that the Lakers are open to the prospect of helping LeBron achieve his dream of playing with his son by potentially drafting him.

LeBron declined to answer a question about whether he played his last game as a Laker after Los Angeles was eliminated in five games by the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

The NBA Draft takes place from June 26 to 27.

Bronny projects as a 3-and-D guard who plays hard, makes good decisions on offense, does the little things, passes well, leads the quick knockdown of defensive rebounds, fills transition lanes and attacks the rim when he has the opportunity gets. He is a great defensive player who fights at the point of attack and has the length and foot speed to hang with most guards.

James’ offense is a work in progress. He’s struggled to generate paint touches in the halfcourt this year and isn’t quite a pull-up shooter yet. He made just 27 percent of his 3s last season, though he looked more confident taking them at USC and has more shooting talent than his percentage shows. — Sam Vecenie, NBA Draft writer

Do Bronny’s measurements at the combine matter?

We finally got confirmation on exactly how big James is. He measured at 6-foot-1 1/2 without shoes with a wingspan of 6-7 1/4 and a standing reach of 8-2 1/2 Monday. That’s much smaller than the 6-4 height he was listed at when he played for USC, but it’s important to remember that colleges list players’ heights in shoes. While the Trojans added an extra inch to Bronny’s height, they didn’t drastically oversell it. Furthermore, NBA teams were operating under the assumption that James was in the 6-2 ballpark anyway.

James’ standing range puts him much more on the fringes of point guard, as opposed to that of a combo or shooting guard. Previous players who had a standing reach of 8-2 1/2 at the combine include Bruce Brown, Collin Sexton, Terry Rozier and Avery Bradley. James is a bit stronger and sturdier than most of those players. — Vecenie

How much does showing target practice help him?

James’ success in a shooting drill Monday serves as a reminder to evaluators that despite his percentages, James has the potential to shoot the ball. Having said that, as I wrote a month ago,” he showed much more shooting potential as a player in high school than he did in college. There’s nothing inherently wrong with its mechanics. Maybe he was out of rhythm after not being allowed to play in the offseason.”

NBA teams have not gone into this process believing that James is incapable of shooting the basketball. That’s the part of his offensive game that they’re actually most confident in translating to the pros. Moreover, these recordings are just a drop in the ocean. Every one of the hundreds of scouts and executives present at last year’s Nike Hoop Summit saw James shoot a monster that far exceeded the number he took at the combine. And of course, the shots he made at match speed last season are still the shots that matter the most. While this may have changed some minds, I don’t know if it moved the needle that much. — Vecenie

What about his vertical jump?

It’s nice to confirm what people already thought, but again, the evaluators assumed James would test extremely well athletically. This one probably didn’t move the needle much positively for James, but confirming preconceived notions is valuable. — Vecenie

(Photo: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)