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Bronny James to use rare strategy to make 2024 NBA Draft decision

Bronny James, 2024 NBA Draft
Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

USC Trojans guard Bronny James arrived at college viewed as a potential top-20 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. Now back on the court after suffering a cardiac arrest in July, the son of LeBron James will be taking a unique approach when deciding whether or not to declare for the draft.

James, a 6-foot-4, shooting guard, enrolled at USC as a four-star recruit rated by 247 Sports as the 28th-best player in the 2023 recruiting class. Listed as the sixth-best combo guard in his class, expectations for the freshman in his first season were relatively high.

  • Bronny James stats: 5 PPG, 2.8 RPG< 2.4 APG, 37% FG in 19.5 minutes per game

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The Trojans planned for James to be one of their key contributors this upcoming season, offering intangibles and a basketball IQ that made him an ideal fit to play a prominent role immediately. Then, the teenager suffered a cardiac arrest during a workout with USC in July 2023.

While he made a full recovery, with the help of outstanding doctors, the process of returning took months. After a five-month recovery stint following his diagnosis of a congenital heart defect, James made his collegiate debut on Dec. 11.

However, James has experienced a slow transition into USC’s rotation. After averaging over 20 minutes per game in January – 4.6 PPG, 3 RPG, 2.4 APG – and February – 4.9 PPG, 3 RPG, 3 APG – James hasn’t cracked 16 minutes played in the last four Trojans’ games. He’s also only shot 37 percent from the field this year.

After Bronny was taken out of ESPN’s latest 2024 NBA mock draft, LeBron chastised the media for putting too much pressure on his son and not allowing “the kid to be a kid.”

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Bronny is no longer viewed as a first-round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft and he might be competing just to be selected in Round 2. While that’s far later than he or his father hoped for, agent Rich Paul revealed what will actually determine whether or not Bronny declares for the draft.

“I don’t value a young player getting into the lottery as much as I do getting him on the right team in the right developmental situation.”

Rich Paul on what factors will determine if Bronny James enters the 2024 NBA Draft

As Rich Paul told ESPN, the priority is getting James into the right situation rather than being picked high. If the family believes there’s a good fit out there, even if it means being selected in the second round or going undrafted, Bronny may still enter the 2024 NBA Draft.

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There’s another factor at play here, too. The 2025 NBA Draft is widely believed to be much better than the 2024 class, both in terms of depth and top-end talent. There could be an even higher possibility that Bronny won’t be drafted in 2025, leaving the door open for him to head to the NBA after his freshman season at USC.

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