Video: Lakers GM Explains Bronny James Draft Pick, Praises Character of LeBron’s Son

zach bacharContributor IJune 27, 2024

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 15: Bronny James smiles during the 2024 NBA Combine on May 15, 2024 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2024 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka discussed the reasoning behind the team’s selection of USC guard Bronny James with the No. 55 overall pick in the 2024 NBA draft.

“Bronny is first and foremost a person of high character,” Pelinka told reporters on Thursday. “And second, he is a young man that works incredibly hard and those are the qualities we look for in drafting players and adding to our developmental core at the Lakers.”

He added that the 19-year-old had a “great draft workout” with the team.

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

Rob Pelinka on Bronny James and stressing that the Lakers chose him mostly because of his character, work ethic and potential

Pelinka also revealed that the team will take an “innovate and new look at how players are developed” under new head coach JJ Redick, which includes James.

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

Rob Pelinka mentioned the Lakers will put together a development program for him, but kept those details fluid partly because JJ Redick still finalizing his coaching staff

With Bronny officially heading to the Lakers, he joins LeBron James to become the first father-son duo in NBA history to be active at the same time.

It’s not guaranteed that the USC product will spend his rookie season with his dad just yet, as the elder James still has to make a decision regarding a $51.4 million player option for the 2024-25 season (via Spotrac). The four-time MVP will need to make his choice before Saturday’s deadline.

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, James could sign a three-year contract worth up to $162 million with Los Angeles if he opts out of the final year of his current deal.

The Lakers’ decision to select the younger James wasn’t a large surprise, as Sam Vecenie of The Athletic reported on Thursday that “sources who represent opposing teams” viewed L.A. choosing the former Trojan as “likely.”

He’s coming off a tumultuous freshman season at USC, averaging 4.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in 19.3 minutes per game. He only appeared in 25 contests and didn’t make his debut until Dec. 10 after suffering suffering cardiac arrest during a workout in July 2023.

However, James was able to improve his stock during the pre-draft process. He excelled throughout the NBA draft combine in May, shooting 19-25 from behind the arc during a three-point drill.

Jonathan Givony @DraftExpress

Bronny James just crushed the 3-point star shooting drill at the NBA draft combine. 19/25, good for second place.

While it may be difficult for him to crack the Lakers’ rotation as a rookie given the team’s playoff expectations, Pelinka is confident in the team’s ability to develop him so that he can eventually become a consistent contributor.

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