Bronny James could be in for a niche 12 months if the NBA age restrict isn’t lowered

Bronny James
Photograph: Getty Photographs

The largest hurdle Bronny James should clear to make the NBA could be one which his dad can’t increase him over. Partially misplaced in NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s many feedback in the course of the summer season league a few weeks in the past was his help for reducing the age restrict from 19 to 18, one thing that should occur previous to the 2023-24 season for Bronny to make the leap like LeBron did so a few years in the past.

The rule change needs to be made throughout the brand new CBA negotiations, that are within the early phases between the league and the NBPA, in line with Silver. Whereas ESPN reported that the 2 sides expressed optimism a deal might be agreed upon earlier than the winter opt-out date, NBC Sports activities stated not all gamers and groups are on board with dropping the minimal age for draft eligibility. There are solely so many roster spots, and understandably not all members of the gamers affiliation are enthusiastic about having elevated competitors. If talks aren’t finalized earlier than the opt-out date, the CBA might expire subsequent summer season.

There’s nothing about LeBron’s dedication to staying in form that claims he’s going to be bodily unable to play NBA basketball in 2024-25. So no matter if Bronny has to fill his hole 12 months overseas or on a school campus, we’ll most likely nonetheless see the father-son tandem on an NBA roster. It’d simply be extra Giannis Antetokuonmpo household photograph op than the Griffeys hitting back-to-back house runs. (LeBron’s different son, Bryce, is heading into his sophomore season at Sierra Canyon, and at nearly 6-foot-6 already, he seems to be extra like his dad bodily than his older brother.)

Bronny is presently ranked by 247 Sports activities because the fiftieth greatest highschool prospect heading into his senior season. Over the previous decade, there’s solely been a couple of gamers who completed ranked in that vary to make an affect within the league. The largest names are Zach Levine (No. 50 in 2013), Norm Powell (No. 52 in 2011), Dejounte Murray (No. 49 in 2015), Chuma Okeke and Jordan Poole (Nos. 50 and 51 respectively in 2017), and Robert Willams and Kevin Huerter (Nos. 50 and 51 respectively in 2016). And, predictably sufficient, there aren’t quite a lot of quick guards on that listing.

Clearly, all of these gamers had been drafted, the best being Levine at No. 13 in 2014. The distinction is these gamers doubtless wouldn’t have been chosen had they put their names into the draft after highschool. If NBA groups had been solely choosing from a pool of highschool expertise, it’d be possible {that a} child coming in at No. 50 on 247’s huge board could be chosen. They’re not although as worldwide expertise and present school prospects just about assure {that a} participant of Bronny’s stature and ability set — not household title or lineage — must spend a 12 months in school.

The opposite wrinkle if the age is lowered: It turns into a double draft, and Prince James (no slight meant) might be in a gaggle together with his highschool class and final 12 months’s graduates presently slogging by their one-and-done season. The one approach Bronny will get drafted coming straight out of highschool is that if he grows 5 inches and goes ballistic throughout his senior 12 months — or a crew simply needs to fuck with the Lakers and drive them to both commerce for Bronny or commerce LeBron to them.

A recruiting skilled just lately advised Sports activities Illustrated that there aren’t quite a lot of faculties courting Bronny as a result of the belief is he’s going straight to the NBA. (My guess is he indicators with no matter crew his dad is on as an undrafted free agent.)

“I believe everyone is in settlement that he’s a great participant who can affect profitable just about from day one on the school degree. I simply suppose the notion — though we haven’t heard something definitive in any respect out of Bronny’s camp — is that he’s not more likely to play school basketball,” stated Adam Finkelstein of 247 Sports activities.

On his official recruitment web page, he doesn’t have a single provide, although Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, and North Carolina are on his curiosity listing.

I completely get why a son would need to forgo school to play on the Lakers together with his pops, and why LeBron actually needs that to occur. It’s simply… until it’s within the G League, which I don’t suppose dad would enable or stoop to, I don’t know the way a lot Bronny will really play. Perhaps they share the ground throughout rubbish time, and we get a nonetheless cool son-to-father alley-oop. Judging by his social media presence, I’m certain Bronny would excel at bench celebrations.

That stated, I’d be extra entertained if the age restrict stays intact (at the very least for somewhat bit longer), so Bronny has to spend a 12 months really taking part in basketball at a kind of blue blood applications. I imply NBA Twitter has invested sufficient power into his profession that they need to see how good he actually is earlier than being relegated to a puff piece in warmups.

And if I’m Bronny, I’d wish to learn how a lot of my basketball success is a product of my very own exhausting work, too.

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