Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Former Top-10 Prospect’s Draft Range Now ‘All Over’ The Place

Rich Paul (Klutch Sports) watches client Bronny James at USC

As former USC wing Bronny James makes his way through the draft process, the biggest challenge he faces is fortifying his draft position.

As of now, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul says that his draft range is “all over (the place),” per Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes. “Some teams think he goes 20 to 40, some say 30-50, and some teams think he’ll go undrafted.”

Bronny James’s Draft Range ‘All Over’ the Place

This was not the case a year ago, when ESPN’s Jonathan Givony projected James to be the 10th overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. At the time, the draft expert said that James was “developing into arguably the best perimeter defender in his class while making strides with his shooting and playmaking.”

In his insider article, Givony added that the Ohio native “filled out his frame, found another gear with his explosiveness and become an absolute terror off the ball defensively thanks to his outstanding intensity and feel for the game.”

Interestingly, those same skills are now being downplayed by scouts. They’re undoubtedly overshadowed by his wretched counting stats. That said, it’s no strange thing for everyone to hone in on his weaknesses.

Yet, considering that even when James was a top-10 prospect, it was known that he “still has plenty of room to improve his ballhandling and pull-up jumper to become a more prolific and efficient shot creator,” it’s not as if there any new developments.

The Wrong Position

At 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, James needs to home in on the skills that will help him be a successful point guard. With the Trojans, he primarily played off the ball, a decision that’s been questioned in hindsight.

James does need to work on his ball-handling ability. Still, it’s not like he has bricks for hands. He’s just not ready to handle the ball pressure a point guard would face full-time. To that point, he should’ve had more opportunities to develop this area of his game at USC.

Because of Boogie Ellis and Isaiah Collier’s commitments, James was always likely to come off the bench. However, it should have been with more minutes at lead guard. Evidence for this notion is that James recorded five or more assists in half of the games he started.

Former USC head coach Andy Enfield, now leading SMU’s men’s basketball team, isn’t the only one who believed James was better as a 3-and-D prospect. Indeed, it was the prevailing opinion in the basketball world. Nonetheless, it doesn’t change the fact that it now appears to have been the wrong position.

Bronny James’s Ceiling

Even if he remained an inefficient scorer, a more aggressive James could be a Marcus Smart-like player. Without the attitude perhaps, but everything else. The game-changing defense and roller coaster playmaking. A streaky shooter but cut from a cloth of champions given his heart and hustle.

At his peak, James’s ceiling may very well be that of Jrue Holiday or Derrick White. Notably, Holiday and White are two of three players the 19-year-old named when asked who he would like to emulate. For that, he’ll have to improve his 3-point shooting and confidence in his overall scoring ability.


More Posts