Bronny James mock draft: Why NBA experts project LeBron James’ son won’t be picked in 2024

As USC freshman Bronny James gets closer to becoming NBA Draft-eligible, his spotlight is starting to shine even brighter than usual.

That attention reached a new peak on Monday when his father, LeBron, took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to respond to ESPN’s future NBA mock draft that had Bronny getting selected in 2025, not 2024.

“Can y’all please just let the kid be a kid and enjoy college basketball,” LeBron wrote in a post that was later deleted.

LeBron has not been shy about his desire to stick around the NBA long enough to play with his son. Still performing at an All-Star level at age 39, LeBron’s time isn’t running out yet, but his contract status — he can become an unrestricted free agent this offseason by turning down his player option for 2024-25 — could give him the flexibility to join forces with Bronny if his son does turn pro.

The only problem is Bronny’s freshman season at USC hasn’t given him a clear runway to take the one-and-done route.

MORE: LeBron James addresses Lakers future, retirement plans

Bronny James stats

James’ first collegiate season has been anything but traditional. The 19-year-old suffered cardiac arrest during a workout over the summer, putting his freshman season on hold for four months. Upon his return, James was still under a minutes restriction for his first four games.

Even after James got back into form, it has been a tumultuous season for the freshman and USC. The Trojans have been wildly disappointing, sitting in second-to-last place in the Pac-12 with a 5-11 conference record.

James hasn’t had the opportunities that he might have hoped to showcase his skills if he had plans of being a one-and-done prospect. For the majority of the year, he has come off the bench behind super senior guard Boogie Ellis and freshman guard Isaiah Collier, who was the No. 1 player in the high school class of 2023.

Both Ellis and Collier have missed games due to injury, but James didn’t capitalize on his chance to shine in a bigger role. His lack of assertiveness in those moments was something I wrote about after watching his final high school game at Sierra Canyon last year.

As a whole, it feels like James’ game has been put into a box because of the talent in front of him. He has been reduced to a 3-and-D-type player who hasn’t had much freedom to create as a ball-handler. He hasn’t shot the ball well and hasn’t displayed shot-creation skills, falling into the background more often than not. His playing time has been inconsistent and it feels like he has never truly gotten into a rhythm this season.

With just four games remaining in the regular season, James has only scored double figures three times in 19 appearances. He has had four games with at least five assists and four games with multiple steals. He has only knocked down multiple 3-pointers in three games but has never hit more than two triples in a game.

Here are his full stats on the season:

Bronny James stats at USC
GP 19 (6 GS)
MP 20.1
FG% 37.1
3P% 27.5
FT% 62.1
PPG 5.5
RPG 2.8
APG 2.5
SPG 0.7
BPG 0.2

Bronny James projected draft

  • 2024 NBA Draft: Late first, early second-round pick
  • 2025 NBA Draft: First-round pick

Even though Bronny is only averaging 5.5 points per game and hasn’t shown one-and-done prowess, it wouldn’t shock me if a team was willing to take a late first-round or early second-round flier on him if he does declare for the 2024 NBA Draft.

It goes beyond increasing a team’s chance of courting LeBron in potential free agency (but that, of course, also plays a factor). In a draft class that lacks thorough talent, why wouldn’t a team take a chance on the heir of an all-time great and hope they can unleash his full potential after a bizarre lone college season?

On the flip side, Bronny sticking around for his sophomore season is probably the more logical option. With Ellis graduating and Collier all but certain to be a one-and-done player, Bronny would have a full season in a featured role to display his skills. It would also give him an entire offseason to work on his game after having his preseason cut short by a heart issue a year ago.

DECOURCY: LeBron would do Bronny a favor by allowing him to develop as an NBA prospect in due time

All eyes will be on Bronny’s NBA Draft decision, and according to LeBron, it will be his son’s choice.

“It’s up to [Bronny],” LeBron told the Inside the NBA crew at All-Star Weekend. “It’s up to the kid. We’re gonna go through the whole process. He’s still in season now with the Pac-12 tournament coming up.

“We gon’ weigh all options and we gon’ let the kid make the decision.”

First appeared on

Leave a Comment