Gilbert Arenas on Bronny James: ‘He has the Bugatti engine, but he wants to drive the speed limit’

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read

Bronny James’ NBA future is yet to be determined, but former player Gilbert Arenas compared his outlook to that of Jrue Holiday.

“Bronny…he’s a Jrue Holiday, just more athletic,” Arenas said. “If he turns on his tiger, for sure. He just plays the right way.

“… We don’t know what he really is. He has the Bugatti engine, but he wants to drive the speed limit. He don’t want a ticket. ‘I don’t want a ticket.’ That’s how he uses his body.”

The NBA potential for the son of Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James varies among league observers. He reportedly is on the draft boards of multiple teams. Some executives see him as a late first-round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, but one scout is skeptical of that projection.

Those observations began before the 19-year-old began his college career, so it’s possible those opinions have changed.

Holiday is a two-time All-Star who is currently playing for the Boston Celtics. He was an NBA champion with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021.

Arena seems confident in the younger James when measured against other prospects.

“If he went into the draft and he has to play one-v-ones against the other recruit, no one’s gonna dominate him,” Arenas said.

The younger James got a late start to his college career after suffering a cardiac arrest during the summer. He made his debut for the University of Southern California last month and has played 10 games for the Trojans this season. The freshman is averaging 5.8 points per game.

The elder James has expressed a strong desire to play in the NBA at the same time as his son, possibly as a teammate. An NBA scout said he believes if the Lakers have a chance to draft the younger James they will not pass up that opportunity.

It also is possible they could be in the league at the same time on different teams. However, the elder James has a player option in his contract for next season, so he does have some possible flexibility on where he might play if he extends his career.

One former NBA executive said teams will not target the younger James just to try to lure his father to them.

The elder James continues to be one of the best players in the league playing his 21st season at 39 years old. He is averaging 24.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game in 39 appearances this season.

Coming off a loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, the Lakers are in 10th place in the Western Conference with a 21-22 record.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.