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Stephen A. Smith: Insiders believe Bronny James isn’t ready for the NBA

Bronny James
Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

After just one season in college with the USC Trojans, in which he started six of 25 games. Bronny James has officially decided to enter the 2024 NBA Draft.

It’s a fascinating decision, considering he’s not even being discussed as a potential lottery pick. In fact, LeBron James’ eldest son may not even be a first-round pick on June 26.

NBA insiders: Bronny James should stay in college

Still just 19 years old, some within the basketball world aren’t sure that Bronny is ready to take his game to the next level quite yet. At least that’s what some have privately told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

“Everybody that I’ve spoken to says he’s not ready for the NBA. [They say] he should stay in college. Says he has some things to prove. They talk about his athleticism. They talk about his defensive prowess. They say he has potential. They say the younger brother Bryce has more potential.”

Stephen A. Smith on what he’s hearing about Bronny James’ potential

Bryce James is still 16, playing high school ball at Sierra Canyon School, but he’s already 6-foot-6. If Bryce can keep growing his game, he may very well have more potential. But this is about Bronny, not Bryce.

While Bronny’s ceiling is unknown, teams are intrigued with the potential financial impact he could have, improving attendance marks in the G-League until showing he can earn floor time at the NBA level.

Past talk has linked LeBron to teaming up with Bronny in the NBA, and the Lakers do boast both the 17th and 55th picks in the 2024 NBA Draft. If the interest is genuine, the Lakers will have to weigh whether it’s worth it to select Bronny at 17 or risk another team willing to take a chance on LeBron’s son developing into a star.

Clearly, some are skeptical of Bronny’s readiness, but they’ve also admitted he has potential. The question is how much that potential is worth.

Related: Los Angeles Lakers willing to let LeBron James return on ‘any term he wants’

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