With the 55th pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers selected USC guard Bronny James – the son of the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and his new teammate, LeBron James.

The younger James is one of the most compelling names in the entire 2024 class. Aside from facing the pressure of living in the shadow of his Hall of Fame-bound father, the 19-year-old’s college stint was disrupted before it began when he suffered a sudden cardiac arrest during a July practice on campus. Bronny was eventually cleared and returned a month into the season but never seemed to find his footing with the Trojans.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka commended the 19-year-old’s character and said his work ethic was a deciding factor in the team taking him late in the second round Thursday.


“He’s not a person that has ever taken shortcuts or expected or been entitled about basketball opportunities,” Pelinka told reporters following the draft, per AP Sports. “He’s worked for everything that he’s gotten, including being selected today at 55.

“It’s an honor for us to add him to our program. Coach (JJ) Redick is already excited about putting a development plan around him to increase his basketball skills and turn him into the player that we think can impact and help this franchise.”

Bronny’s decision to remain in the draft rather than return for another year in college caught some by surprise. However, while acknowledging James’ vast draft range, agent Rich Paul said in May that the priority was Bronny’s development and they wouldn’t accept any two-way contract proposals.

Paul seemingly maintained his pressure on other teams during Wednesday’s second round of the draft in an effort to get Bronny to Los Angeles. The Klutch Sports CEO reportedly told other teams not to draft the USC product, warning that he’d play in Australia next year rather than report to any other franchise that selected him, ESPN analyst and former Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers said on the broadcast.

While his college numbers didn’t pop off the page, James did have a strong showing at the combine. But despite being listed at 6-foot-4 by USC, his measured height came in at a slightly shorter 6-foot-2, possibly complicating his fit as a predominantly off-ball guard in the NBA.

In any case, the James pairing in L.A. is now set to become the first instance in NBA history of a father and son becoming teammates, assuming the Lakers bring LeBron back next season.


Position: Guard
School: USC
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 210 lbs
Wingspan: 6-foot-7
Max vertical: 40.5 inches

2023-24 statistics with USC

25 36.6 26.7 67.6 2.8 2.1 4.8

James struggled in his short time at USC, but it’s tough to determine how much weight to place on his performance. The unique and unfortunate circumstances he had to deal with – recovering from a serious, life-threatening event while navigating the attention that comes from being the son of arguably the greatest basketball player ever – are perfectly acceptable caveats for a teenage prospect stumbling through a season of college basketball.

That said, legitimate questions about his game emerged during his Trojans stint. Perhaps the most pressing is whether his poor shooting was simply a seasonal anomaly. He only made 16 threes in 60 tries all season, but James impressed at the NBA combine’s on-the-move 3-point shooting drill, going 19-of-25 for 76% – second to the 84% posted by Alex Karaban, who subsequently withdrew from the draft to return to UConn. James also shot 5-of-8 from three for 15 points in the McDonald’s All-American Game, offering more evidence that he might find his stroke again.

NBA comparable: Derrick White. A lot has to go right for James to be able to contribute in the type of manner White has for the Celtics, especially during Boston’s dominant postseason run. However, there are rough, early resemblances between the two. If James can hone his shot to become a dependable distance threat, it’d help mitigate his lack of size when he likely plays alongside another ball-handler with more facilitating responsibilities. But James will also need to better read the defense and make his own timely dishes in order to carve out a long-term role as a pro.

White, however, is far more than a spot-up threat; he’s also one of Boston’s best overall stoppers. To James’ credit, while he wasn’t a lockdown defender at USC, his ability to stay in front of opponents arguably makes defense his most NBA-ready skill. That’s likely why the 6-foot-4 White was one of three players Bronny himself touted in May – along with Jrue Holiday and Davion Mitchell – as those he hopes to model his game after.