2024 NBA Draft scouting report: Bronny James

USC freshman Bronny James is officially declaring for the 2024 NBA Draft. What does he offer to prospective teams?
Bronny James, USC Trojans
Bronny James, USC Trojans / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

After months of speculation, Bronny James is officially declaring for the 2024 NBA Draft. The USC freshman struggled quite a bit in his first (and potentially only) college season, averaging 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists on 47.2 percent true shooting in 19.3 minutes. But, all the same, LeBron James' son is expected to draw interest from NBA teams.

James is keeping his options open, of course. He is maintaining his college eligibility and entering the transfer portal as USC undergoes a coaching change. While his production was hardly indicative of NBA readiness, the 19-year-old offers enough positive traits to work his way into the second round by draft night. That is especially true if James can perform in individual team workouts.

It's important to remember the context of James' rocky campaign. He missed time out of the gate as he recovered from an offseason cardiac arrest. That is an obstacle few prospective NBA players have faced, much less recovered from in less than a year. James worked hard to get back, but he started the season at a disadvantage in terms of conditioning and team cohesion.

He was also on a plain bad team. USC struggled all season, often performing as less than the sum of its parts. Isaiah Collier is a potential lottery pick, but USC's vets couldn't pick up the remaining slack. James truly fought an uphill battle, even with the inherent privilege of being LeBron's son.

Some will laugh at James' 4.8 PPG and criticize NBA teams who even think about drafting him, but James began the season as a projected first-round pick for a reason. There is real talent there and NBA teams overlooking him could end up sorely regretful in a few years. If James does indeed stay in the 2024 draft, he at least deserves a chance to compete for a roster spot next season.

Bronny James NBA Draft bio

Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 210 pounds
Birthdate: Oct. 6, 2004
Position: Shooting Guard
Offensive Role: Spot-Up Shooter, Connective Passer
Defensive Role: On-Ball Stopper
Projected Draft Range: Late Second Round or Undrafted

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While James was not blessed with his father's athletic tools, he clearly learned the game well. Bronny is an exceedingly smart player, capable of impacting winning even when his shots aren't falling, as was the case for the majority of last season. James processes the game quickly and operates effectively in the flow of the offense.

His passing is a real standout trait. James averaged 2.1 assists to 1.1 turnovers in limited minutes, frequently locating teammates in stride to the rim or comfortably situated behind the 3-point line. James doesn't require a ton of dribbles to manipulate the defender or set up passing angles. He moves freely within the offense and pulls off quick-trigger dimes that promote ball movement.

James lacks positional size, but he's still a plus athlete. Built strong and equipped with real vertical pop, James is a threat to get up above the rim on backdoor cuts or out in transition. He doesn't get to the rim often, but James is capable of muscling through contact and finishing with power when he does.

Shooting was a real problem for James at USC, but he buried 3s with great consistency back in high school at Sierra Canyon. He displays soft touch and should be able to improve scouts' opinion of his jumper in individual workouts.

If James can hit 3s at even a league-average rate, his traits as a connector will pop even more. The lack of size is a bummer, but James' ability to pass teammates open and make the small efforts, such as timely screens and cuts, gives him a path to NBA-level offense.

His case, for now, is built around defense. James is a proper stopper on the perimeter, displaying excellent lateral quickness, strength, and activity at the point of attack. James can fight through screens and muck up a ball-handler's airspace. He's unafraid to get in a stance and take the pit bull approach, showing his hands and operating with impressive physicality.

ames would be much easier to project with confidence at 6-foot-6, but even so, he should be able to guard taller than his listed height due to his 6-foot-8 wingspan, broad-shouldered frame, and impeccable approach.

Off the ball, James is a looming threat in passing lanes, or even for the occasional weak-side block. He averaged 2.3 steals per 100 possessions. James has a real knack for blowing up plays and subsequently generating transition opportunities for his team. If the offense comes around, James is going to have an NBA future.

And, while it's unfair to other prospects, James is the son of arguably the greatest player ever. That alone will catch eyeballs, not to mention the attention of NBA front offices eager to attract LeBron in free agency (or keep him happy, in the Lakers' case).


James' shot 48.1 percent on 2s and 26.7 percent on 3s as a freshman. Even with his positive track record as a shooter in high school, James couldn't muster a particularly reassuring free throw percentage (67.6 percent). He shot 23.1 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers. In short, James will need to prove the jumper not only in pre-draft workouts, but once he's back in game action next season.

It would be much easier to get behind James' projection as a 6-foot-4 passing savant and defensive ace if he could handle point guard reps. James has the passing chops to set up teammates, but he lacks juice as a creator. James doesn't have the shiftiness or downhill burst to consistently generate advantages with his dribble. Aside from the occasional side-step or step-back 3, we didn't see much from James on the self-creation front.

He doesn't pressure the rim, nor does James' pull-up jumper fall consistently enough to convince scouts of his utility in pick-and-roll actions. So, as of now, James is almost exclusively an off-ball "guard" who lacks size, shooting, or outlier athleticism. That is a tough sell.

Final summary

James would surely benefit from another season of college basketball to get his shot settled and sand the rough edges of his skill set. If he sticks in the 2024 draft, however, NBA teams will need to believe in James' skill development catching up to his basketball I.Q. and defense.

He's a unique case because of the LeBron connection, obviously. There has been plenty of speculation about the Lakers targeting Bronny, or LeBron jumping ship to join his son on another NBA team. Assuming that teams consider Bronny solely on his merits as a player, though, he should probably generate second round buzz.

The right situation, surrounded by size, advantage-creators, and a strong skill development staff, could really benefit Bronny. He's definitely an NBA talent, even with the paltry freshman numbers. He's 19 with real defensive chops and a great feel for the game. The foundation is plenty strong, it just might take a while for James to come into his own.