NBA GM Pessimistic About Bronny James’ NBA Draft Chances: Report

Bronny James

Getty Bronny James on the court during a March 13 game.

Is Bronny James worth a first-round pick?

An anonymous NBA general manager gave a blunt answer to this question in an interview with The Ringer, saying LeBron James Jr. would have been a first-round prospect this year had he only developed a reliable jump shot at USC.

“He’d be a first-rounder if he had shot well [at USC],” the GM told The Ringer in Kevin O’Connor’s “honest scouting report,” published on April 10.

“[ESPN draft insider Jonathan] Givony had him ranked as a lotto guy at one point last year for a reason,” the GM added. “But unfortunately, Bronny’s shot still hasn’t developed.”

O’Connor wrote that his unnamed sources included a scout, an NBA general manager and another front-office executive.

Unnamed GM: Bronny James Is Not Ready for the NBA

James, 19, drew a lukewarm reaction from the basketball community following his decision to declare for the 2024 NBA draft despite underperforming in his freshman season at USC.

In 25 games for the Trojans, James averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 19.4 minutes per game. He also had a 36.6% field goal percentage and a 26.7 3-point percentage, which are not particularly noteworthy for an NBA prospect. James suffered cardiac arrest in July 2023 during a practice, and his recovery delayed his college basketball debut by several weeks.

The GM emphasized that Bronny’s performance this season will not be enough to make him an appealing prospect for NBA teams.

“Bronny is nowhere near ready,” an NBA general manager told the Ringer. “He should go back to school to develop at his own pace, or he risks getting lost in the shuffle, whether or not he’s playing with his dad.”

That echoes what another anonymous NBA executive told ESPN in mid-March: “I don’t know what he does at an NBA level that really moves the needle.” Another told the outlet, “We’d recommend he go back [to college].”

The Best Is Yet to Come for Bronny James

At 19 years old, James still has time to improve his game and become the enticing NBA prospect that everyone expected him to be.

While his offensive style is still developing, some NBA analysts praised his potential to become a quality perimeter defender, despite the GM’s belief that he is slightly undersized at 6-foot-2.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst expressed optimism about James’ NBA prospects, saying scouts did not believe he was allowed to put his best foot forward during his freshman year at USC.

“When I talked with scouts about Bronny, they don’t think that he was able to put his best foot forward this year because USC didn’t play him in his position,” Windhorst said on the “The Pat McAfee Show” on April 19.

“They had several guard draft prospects and he played sort on the wing. They say he should play point guard where he played and excelled when he was in high school,” Windhorst added.

Despite declaring for the 2024 NBA draft, James also entered the transfer portal, which would allow him to resume his collegiate basketball career with a different team if he decided to withdraw from this year’s draft.

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