USC Basketball: Revealing why Bronny James is at risk of becoming the NBA’s “Tommy Boy”.

USC Basketball: Why Bronny James Is At Risk Of Becoming NBA’s Own “Tommy Boy”

USC Basketball: Why Bronny James Is At Risk Of Becoming NBA’s Own “Tommy Boy”

USC Trojans freshman combo guard Bronny James is taking control of his basketball future, in declaring for the NBA draft and entering the NCAA transfer portal.

Essentially, if he finds enough draft interest, he will take the leap into the pros, otherwise he will explore further seasoning at another school.

But has he truly earned the opportunity to play in the NBA just yet, judging by his skill? He was a low-scoring reserve on a weak (15-18) USC team in 2023-24, averaging just 4.8 points on .366/.367/.676 shooting splits, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 dimes in 25 games.

Per Doug Gottlieb of Fox Sports Radio (transcription via Wil Leitner), Bronny James is not yet quite worthy of taking the NBA leap, and perhaps would not be able to were he not the son of the one of the greatest players in league history, Los Angeles Lakers All-Star forward LeBron James.

“I have my own AAU program and I know all the players, especially in Southern California who run these events. I get a chance to — it’s called ‘coaching’ — but you basically show up and sub guys in and out at some of these All-Star events,” Gottlieb said.

“So I’ve seen Bronny James play from his freshman year on, and I couldn’t believe he was a McDonald’s All-American last year.”

“It is fascinating the timing of Bronny James declaring and LeBron James having a player option [on his contract next year with the Lakers],” Gottlieb noted.

“I don’t think LeBron is switching teams, I think LeBron is all-in on the Lakers, and my guess is when it got a little bit murky in the middle of the season, they probably re-affirmed to him like‘hey, we don’t think he’s an NBA player, but could we buy a late second-round draft pick, take Bronny, put him in the G-League and call him up once or twice so you guys can play together?’ That seems reasonable.”

“Selfishly, LeBron wants to play on an NBA floor with his son. That’s great and can and probably will happen, but has anybody actually asked, is that what’s best for Bronny?”

Gottlieb floated. “’Do you want to be ‘that guy’ who everyone knows you’re only there because your dad made it so? Do you want to be the ‘Tommy Boy’ of the NBA?

He’s not a mess like the late great Chris Farley’s character was in ‘Tommy Boy’, but I mean, he couldn’t start at USC, who had a very disappointing season in a Pac-12 that wasn’t particularly good, and when he did start because of injuries, they didn’t win.

So if you’re a bench player for USC in a year in which USC finishes bottom three of the Pac-12, and now you’re going to play in the NBA? ”

“I think he could eventually be a really good college player and he would follow the natural progression of how it used to be for many freshmen,” Gottlieb posited.

“First year, you’re the first guard off the bench, next year you start, and by your third year you’re on an all-league team, and by your fourth year maybe you have a chance to be an All-American, and then you try to find a way to make it in the league or you go overseas and you play until you can’t play anymore.

Even to get to that place, it’s going to take the right fit because he’s not really a point guard, and he also has to change his mentality – he’s never really been an ‘Alpha.’

LeBron takes up all the oxygen and all the attention, and it’s in many ways great for Bronny because he can just be quiet and thoughtful, and has his own friends and whatever, but he does not have that special leadership sauce that quarterbacks have, that point guards have, that leaders have.

You can learn, grow, and gain that but you kind of got to go off and do it on your own.”

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