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LeBron “Bronny” James Jr. drafted by Los Angeles Lakers, setting stage for potential father-son duo

In a historic move, LeBron “Bronny” James Jr. has been drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 55th overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, paving the way for a potential father-son duo on the court. Bronny, the son of NBA superstar LeBron James, joins his father’s team after going unselected in the first round.

The 6-foot-2 guard from the University of Southern California had been a major talking point leading up to the draft. Although his last name has contributed to the hype, Bronny’s game has steadily developed over the years, preparing him for this significant moment.

Yahoo Sports NBA draft analyst Krysten Peek had projected that James would be taken with the 55th overall selection by the Lakers. “James is far from a finished product, but proved he belonged in this draft class as a prospect at the draft combine, where he shot the ball well and showed more scoring potential in the lane with his floater,” Peek wrote in her recent mock draft.

Despite sharing genes with one of the greatest basketball players of all time, experts were not as high on James coming into the draft as they were when his father was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in 2003. One reason for this was James’ underwhelming freshman season at USC, where he averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game while shooting below 40% from the field. Additionally, the Trojans’ underperformance contributed to a less-than-ideal college debut for James.

James’ freshman season was further marred by a health scare on July 25, when he collapsed due to cardiac arrest during a USC basketball practice. After being hospitalized and stabilized, he was unable to practice until late November, making his college debut in December.

Despite these setbacks, James showed flashes of potential, with one of his best performances being a 15-point game against Oregon State. However, his inconsistency led to questions about his legitimacy as an NBA prospect. An NBA executive told the New York Post, “We wouldn’t be talking about him if his name was Joe Thomas,” highlighting the scrutiny James faced.

Historically, the sons of NBA players often outplay their draft positioning. Yahoo Sports’ Tom Haberstroh noted that the success of second-generation players, such as Jalen Brunson and Stephen Curry, often defies their draft rankings. “As we talk about Bronny’s candidacy, it’s worth pointing out that the success of second-generation players like Brunson isn’t the exception; it’s the rule,” Haberstroh wrote.

LeBron James has expressed his desire to play with his son, stating in 2022 that his last year in the NBA would be spent alongside Bronny. However, his agent, Rich Paul, has since clarified that there is no guarantee of this happening. “If he does, he does. But if he doesn’t, he doesn’t,” Paul told ESPN, indicating that LeBron’s future in the NBA is not solely tied to Bronny’s career.

As the second round of the draft played out, former Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers, now an ESPN broadcaster, revealed that Paul was calling teams to inform them that if they selected Bronny, he would play in Australia instead, implying that Paul had a specific destination in mind.

Bronny James finished his high school career at Sierra Canyon as a four-star recruit and a McDonald’s All-American, averaging 14.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.7 steals in his senior year. With his drafting by the Lakers, the stage is set for a potentially historic moment in NBA history if Bronny and LeBron take the court together.