ESPN removes Bronny James from 2024 mock draft, now projects him to be selected in 2025

Mike Battaglino
4 Min Read
Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

Bronny James’ arrival in the NBA may come later than some may have been expecting, and that could delay his father LeBron’s dream of the two men playing in the league at the same time.

The son of the Los Angeles Lakers star is no longer listed in ESPN’s 2024 mock draft, and the network has moved the 19-year-old into its mock draft for 2025 instead. The change in the projection apparently came following the guard’s cardiac arrest scare during the summer.

The younger James is playing his freshman season at the University of Southern California. He is averaging 5.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per outing across slightly more than 20 minutes per game in his 19 appearances for USC, which has a record of 11-16.

Notably, even in its 2025 mock draft, ESPN does not have the younger James tabbed as a first-round pick, slotting him in the second round at No. 39 overall. So, even if he chooses to play another year of college ball to work on his game, there is no guarantee it will markedly improve his draft stock.

One former NBA executive recently compared the younger James to current Orlando Magic guard Gary Harris when it comes to upside. Harris was a first-round pick (No. 19 overall) back in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Of course, the younger James could still declare for the 2024 NBA Draft, which may remain the most likely path.

“I think it’s very possible and probably likely that he still declares for the draft after the year,” Adam Finkelstein of 247Sports said.

“And if you have followed LeBron James over the years, you should know that this is a man who dictates more front office moves than maybe any player in NBA history. He’s been setting this up for two years. And I think it’s very possible Bronny James is in the NBA next year. But as I said last year, that won’t be based solely on his own merit as a prospect but on what comes with being LeBron James’ son.”

Despite a stated desire to play in the NBA at the same time as his son, the elder James has said the decision on when that will happen isn’t his to make.

“It’s up to him, it’s up to the kid,” James said. “We’re going to go through the whole process. He’s still in season now. He has the Pac-12 tournament coming up. … We’re going to weigh all options and we’re going to let the kid make the decision.”

Now 39 years old, the elder James this past offseason hinted at retirement before coming back to play his 21st NBA season. One report indicated that the Lakers are open to adding his son to the team to keep the superstar happy.

Of more immediate concern for the Lakers is making a playoff push entering the later stages of this season. They are in ninth place in the Western Conference with a 31-28 record following a loss to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. It was just their third defeat in their past 10 games.

Share This Article
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.