Lakers Star LeBron James Has Strong Reaction to ESPN’s Mock Draft

Lakers star LeBron James reacts

Getty LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to a foul during the second half of a game against the San Antonio Spurs.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James slammed ESPN’s latest 2024 NBA mock draft where Bronny James‘ name was removed. He is now projected to be selected in 2025, according to ESPN.

“Can you all please just let the kid be a kid and enjoy college basketball. The work and results will ultimately do the talking no matter what he decides to do. If y’all don’t know he doesn’t care what a mock draft says, he just WORKS! Earned Not Given!” James said on X, formerly Twitter, in a now-deleted post.

He added: “And to all the other kids out there striving to be great just keep your head down, blinders on and keep grinding. These Mock Drafts don’t matter one bit! I promise you! Only the WORK MATTERS!! Let’s talk REAL BASKETBALL PEOPLE!”

ESPN draft analyst Jonathan Givony appeared on “NBA Today” shortly after the network omitted James’ eldest son from the mock draft to explain the reason.

“The fact of the matter is that Bronny James has not produced like a one-and-done player this season,” Givony said.

The 19-year-old son of the Lakers superstar is only averaging 5.5 points on a horrible 37/28/6 shooting split, 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists.

“That’s not one-and-done caliber,” Givony said. “He’s been playing hot potato with his teammates moving the ball left and right really has lacked assertiveness and is missing opportunities to really put himself into the game when they’ve had injuries and they’ve needed him to step up and show that he’s an NBA player.”

During USC’s 62-56 win over UCLA on February 24, Bronny was mocked by the Bruins home crowd with chants of “Overrated” and Who’s your daddy?” He finished with 2 points on 1 of 1 shooting with 2 rebounds and 2 assists without a turnover in 15 minutes.

Bronny James Drawing Interest From Multiple NBA Teams

In January, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Bronny James had drawn interest from several NBA teams.

“When I talked to people around the league, [Bronny] is on the draft boards of multiple teams and it is curious what if he gets drafted somewhere not in LA? LeBron James does have a player option this summer,” Charania said on “Run It Back” on FanDuel TV on January 18. “When I talked to NBA people, they know defensively, he’s a lot further along than offensively.”

On February 14, The Athletic also reported that the Lakers are willing to explore pairing James and his son.

“The Lakers, per [a] high-ranking team source, are also willing to explore the notion of adding Bronny James next season,” Sam Amick, Jovan Buha and Anthony Slater of The Athletic wrote. “This stance, the source said, is rooted in the reality that James’ happiness truly matters to the organization.”

The Lakers have a second-round pick in the upcoming draft. Their first-round pick is currently owed to the New Orleans Pelicans in the Anthony Davis trade. But the Pelicans have an option to defer the pick to next year’s talent-rich draft led by projected No. 1 pick Cooper Flagg.

Bronny James Still Has a Chance to Become Lottery Pick

ESPN’s Givony projected Bronny to be selected in the second round at No. 39 in the 2025 NBA draft.

“I love Bronny James’s game still,” Givony said. “We have to remember that this kid missed four months with a heart issue starting in July that really seemed to have derailed his season. He’s one of the best defenders in this freshman class. He’s phenomenal at getting over screens, mirroring one-on-one, busting up handoffs, locking up, generating turnovers. He’s physical, he’s competitive. He’s got a great feel for the game.

I think if Bronny James comes back for his sophomore season, we’re going to see a completely different guy. We’re going to see someone that really could be a lottery pick still.”