Former Lakers champ sees Bronny James as starting NBA PG: ‘Maybe even an All-Star’

Orel Dizon
4 Min Read
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Some folks have expressed skepticism over whether Bronny James should declare for the 2024 draft, but former Los Angeles Lakers champion Metta Sandiford-Artest offered high hopes for the struggling University of Southern California freshman.

“I think he has a good option,” Sandiford-Artest told TMZ Sports when asked what advice he would give James. “… He’s very athletic. I still think he hasn’t grown into his body yet. So, I don’t know if he’s going to be top 50 all time. But in terms of his ability to become a really good player, a starting point guard, I think he’ll be a point guard. He obviously can play the 2. But I think with his unselfish play, with his passing ability, like I said, he’s only a freshman.

“So, a lot of people was talking about his numbers, but name a freshman that never averaged more than four or five and then had no chance going pro. Freshman numbers are freshman numbers, right? So, I think he has a shot to be a really good point guard, a starting point guard, maybe even an All-Star.”

Being the eldest son of one of the greatest players of all time, James has quite big shoes to fill.

There are people who don’t believe that he should join the NBA anytime soon because of his uneven stint with the Trojans. ESPN even removed him from its 2024 mock draft and projected him to be selected next year instead.

The 19-year-old’s numbers leave a lot to be desired. In 25 appearances for his team this season, he averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. His efficiency could’ve used a boost, as he converted just 36.6 percent of his shots from the field and 67.6 percent from the free-throw line.

Still, Sandiford-Artest doesn’t seem to believe those stats are indicative of the teenager’s potential, believing that at least one NBA All-Star berth might be in his future.

It should also be noted that James’ collegiate career didn’t get off to a good start after he collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrest while working out in July last year. He had to endure for a few months to completely recover, resulting in his Trojans debut having to wait until December.

James actually had an encouraging outing in his first college game, showcasing his potential to be an all-around player after putting up four points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in 16 minutes. However, he didn’t get enough chances to find his footing through the rest of the season.

Only time will tell if he ends up staying in college for at least one more year or joining his father LeBron in the professional ranks for the 2024-25 campaign.

The elder James has mentioned several times that he wants to play alongside his son, although he seems to have softened his stance recently. Being on the same court, even as opponents, would certainly be a crowning achievement for the future Hall of Famer, even more so after the younger James’ health scare.

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