Report: People around NBA see Bronny James similarly to Patrick Beverley, Davion Mitchell and Norris Cole

Jesse Cinquini
4 Min Read
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Folks in NBA circles reportedly compared Bronny James to Milwaukee Bucks guard Patrick Beverley, Sacramento Kings guard Davion Mitchell and former Miami Heat floor general Norris Cole from a defensive perspective.

“Instead, James projects as more of a disrupter,” Kevin O’Connor wrote. “Comparisons that came up in these conversations include Patrick Beverley, Davion Mitchell, and Norris Cole. Beverley has had the longest career of the three because he’s the best shooter (37 percent from 3 in his career). Mitchell has yet to figure out his shot with the Kings, while Cole won two titles with LeBron [James] in Miami before flaming out, in part because his shot never developed. But all three of them were respectable defenders. Bronny will have to follow in their footsteps to catch on with a winning team.”

Starting with Beverley, he has been one of the more effective defensive players at the guard position over the past decade. He has three All-Defensive nods to his name and finished in the top 10 in the Defensive Player of the Year voting on more than one occasion.

Across 70 games played (10 starts) with the Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers in the 2023-24 regular season, Beverley is averaging 6.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 0.6 steals per game on 41.4 percent shooting from the field and 32.8 percent from deep.

As for Mitchell, he is averaging a career-low 15.0 minutes per game so far in his third season with the Kings but has still served as a disruptive presence on the defensive side of the ball in 69 appearances with Sacramento.

Finally, Cole is long removed from his playing days in the NBA, with his most recent appearance in the league coming in the 2016-17 campaign with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

But he served as a valuable two-way role player in 274 total regular-season appearances earlier in his career with the Heat, who were led by James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. During that span, he averaged 6.2 points, 2.6 assists and 0.8 steals per contest.

James should take the comparisons to Cole, Beverley and Mitchell from a defensive standpoint as compliments, considering all three have been major irritants on that end of the floor at one point or another.

The 19-year-old has declared for the 2024 NBA Draft, though he could still opt to play another season of college basketball, as he has also entered the transfer portal after one season at the University of Southern California in order to retain his college eligibility.

If James’ impact on the defensive end of the floor in the NBA — assuming he gets the opportunity to play in the association at some point — is comparable to those of Beverley, Mitchell and Cole, he should be able to carve out a long and successful career in the league.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.