- The oldest son of LeBron James is off to college soon and then to the NBA.
- Bronny could be playing alongside his dad in the NBA by the fall of 2024.
- We rounded up scouting reports from experts and what they are predicting for LeBron James Jr.
Bronny James hasn’t even picked a college yet, but that hasn’t stopped people from analyzing how good he might be once he joins his dad, LeBron James, in the NBA.
Bronny, 18, is a 6-foot-3, 180-pound point guard in his senior season at Sierra Canyon High School, just outside of Los Angeles, and is ranked No. 28 in ESPN’s Class of 2023. The younger James is one of only two players in the top 60 yet to commit to a school, but Ohio State, USC, and Oregon are considered the three favorites to land LeBron’s oldest son.
Anyway, wherever Bronny ends up for college, the stay might be short. LeBron recently reiterated his hopes of playing in the NBA at the same time as his son, something that could happen as soon as the 2024-25 season.
But what kind of player will Bronny James be?
The consensus of NBA experts, college coaches, and talent evaluators seems to be that he is already an elite defender, who shows flashes of brilliance on the offensive end but too inconsistent to be a team’s primary scoring threat. While several have noted that he might not be done growing, his NBA future at this point is probably as a role player or a reserve, one who specializes on the defensive end and supplements at the other end.
Here is what the experts are saying about Bronny’s basketball talent
Jeff Borzello and Paul Biancardi of ESPN say James has shown consistent improvement and has a nice all-around game.
“He has long been a two-way player, buying in on the defensive end of the floor and only getting better due to his physicality and instincts. Offensively, he’s a very solid 3-point shooter who can make shots in catch-and-shoot settings.”
Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report wrote before James’ senior season that Bronny was projected as a player who could support bigger stars on both ends of the floor and a “Three-and-D” player (shoots threes and plays strong defense).
“From an NBA scouting perspective, it would be nice if he grew another inch or two to better match up with shooting guards. But he still has a solid frame for his age and the quickness to defend lead guards. Off the ball is where his IQ and athleticism shine. He frequently gets deflections, whether it’s in transition or jumping a passing lane. He keeps his head on a swivel and stays alert, makes rotations and puts himself in position to force a turnover away from the play. Those plays are occasionally highlight blocks at the rim that he times well and gets up high for. He also has quick hands, especially for defending fast breaks and getting strips without fouling. With some question marks about his scoring, James’ defense will need to remain a consistent plus.”
Luca Evans, who has followed Bronny’s career for the LA Times, writes that inconsistency has plagued James but that he has recently matured into an on-court leader.
“3½ years into his high school career, it’s still unclear who exactly Bronny James is going to be. Is he a big-time scorer, a leader-to-be with NBA-ready potential at the NCAA Division I level? Or is he a complementary role player, someone who occasionally busts out of the shadows with a highlight? … Since a return from a holiday tournament in Oregon, something has shifted in the young James. He’s more vocal, on the court and behind the scenes. He directs traffic. He controls tempo.”
—Luca Evans (@bylucaevans) January 7, 2023
Dana O’Neil of The Athletic spoke to several scouts and college coaches about James.
“[Coaches and scouts] like his athleticism and how he gets downhill; they say he’s got a good enough shot that he could play either point guard or shooting guard in college. To a man, they cite his high basketball IQ as a strength. ‘Plays the game the right way’ comes up more than once when evaluators are asked about him. He makes the right passes, the right reads and happily plays in the context of the game … They see areas where he could improve. He can be a little too unselfish. Some coaches want him to be more aggressive and separate himself from the crowd. They say he helped himself this summer by showing glimpses of an alpha mentality.”
Billy Witz and Adam Zagoria of the New York Times spoke with NBA veteran Thaddeus Young of the Toronto Raptors, who is impressed with what he has seen in James.
“He’s solid as hell. Obviously, probably not the elite of the elite. But he’s athletic, he’s strong, he plays defense, he can shoot the ball well, he can run the point guard position, he can play off ball. I love his game.”
—Luca Evans (@bylucaevans) January 14, 2023
Kyle Irving of Sporting News also noted the inconsistency from James, noting that he is already an elite defender, but before this season, he was never the team’s primary scorer or playmaker.
“It’s probably safe to assume he’ll grow even more by the time he enters the draft process. He doesn’t have the wingspan his father does, but Bronny already uses his quick feet and strength to his advantage on the defensive end, shutting off opposing drives with ease. He has good hands and keen instincts to fill passing lanes, turning defense into offense in a hurry with his breakaway speed or savvy passing ability to run in transition … James can play either the one or the two, but he spent most of his junior season as an off-ball scorer and shooter. His jumpshot mechanics are smooth. He didn’t shoot all that consistently during his junior season, but he has already shown improvements in his long-range shot to start his senior year. He has flashes where he shows his burst and athleticism to go downhill and get to the rim, but he doesn’t attack as often as he could.”
—Courtside Films (@CourtsideFilms) December 1, 2022
According to Ricky O’Donnell of SBNation before James’ senior season,
“James is at his best defending opposing point guards while playing in an off-ball role offensively. He’s shown promising flashes as a shooter, making shots from NBA range off spot-ups and even displaying the ability to hit three-pointers off movement.While he’s the size of a point guard, he doesn’t play the position in a traditional sense. Instead of initiating offense with the ball in his hands, Bronny excels at spacing the floor, making quick decisions as a passer, and helping his team get out in transition by turning defense into offense.”