Bronny James, the eldest son of Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, is no stranger to pressure.
The basketball prospect is only 18 years old, and he has already heard chatter about how his future could impact the landscape of the NBA.
Since the elder James is expected to do whatever it takes to play with his son in the NBA, the younger James is dealing with a lot of expectations from the basketball world.
The Athletic spoke to eight college coaches who have evaluated the younger James as well as two NBA scouts who have seen him play.
They offered some interesting thoughts on who the younger James is as a player.
“Evaluators say Bronny’s path to the NBA might be aligned more with a player such as Villanova [University]’s Josh Hart,” wrote The Athletic’s Dana O’Neil. “A top 100 player, Hart became the Big East’s sixth man of the year as a sophomore and finally following his senior year, a first-round draft pick in 2017. He is not an NBA star; he still will make $12 million with Portland this year.
“Bronny, the evaluators say, is a good ballhandler and good shooter, but not great yet at either. Everyone knew Jalen Suggs would get the ball as soon as he walked onto the Gonzaga campus; ditto Derrick Rose at Memphis and Lonzo Ball at UCLA. Bronny is not them. He might start, one coach opines, on a team in the bottom of a power league but not at a top 25 program. Bronny wouldn’t, the coach adds, start for him.”
It sounds like the James family has been “fantastic to deal with” throughout the recruiting process for the young guard.
“Coaches say LeBron wants his son to be treated like an ordinary recruit and they say the James family has been nothing but fantastic to deal with – ‘as low maintenance as a megastar can be,’ one says,” O’Neil wrote. “Savannah James, Bronny’s mother, takes point on most of the recruiting, though LeBron and longtime business partner, Maverick Carter, are involved and have fielded calls. Coaches believe LeBron longs for Bronny to be coached, and coached properly, and that LeBron understands where his son falls in terms of talent.”
Notably, it sounds like some coaches and scouts believe that Bronny James won’t be ready to play at the NBA level for a little while.
“Most coaches and scouts who spoke to The Athletic say Bronny might not be NBA-ready after two or even three years,” O’Neil wrote. “He might develop into an NBA player, but the consensus is that it will take time. They say he needs reps against other high-caliber players to succeed, to fail, to adjust, to grow. That was how Jalen Brunson (Villanova), Corey Kispert (Gonzaga), Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia), Ochai Agbaji (Kansas) and many others got to the NBA, but they question whether that pathway would sit well with Bronny and his family.”
Bronny James will be eligible to be drafted as soon as 2024, but it sounds like he may need more time to develop. At the end of the day, he and his family will surely make the best possible decision for his future while weighing all of the factors.
LeBron James recently signed an extension with the Lakers that could keep him with the team through the 2024-25 season. The trajectory of his son’s basketball career may very well play a role in his contract decisions going forward.
Right now, the Lakers superstar is looking to help L.A. turn its season around. The team recently got its first victory and currently holds a record of 1-5.
Los Angeles will be back in action on Wednesday for a matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans.