Who will draft Bronny James? Best NBA draft fits, from Lakers to Raptors

Updated

Outside of the lottery picks, the most intrigue of the NBA draft will be to see which team takes a flier on Bronny James.

With his medical concerns behind him, the 6-foot-2 James certainly isn’t the first prospect to have an underwhelming collegiate career and was drafted strictly on future potential.

For someone who averaged less than five points a game during his lone season at USC with scouts and executives split on his actual NBA skills, James’ name being attached to certain teams and working out for others could be a smokescreen to keep other teams from really evaluating him. It also may have something to do with his namesake’s future employer.

But LeBron James has cooled on the idea of playing with son, so teams can’t tie drafting the younger James to hopes of landing the 20-time All-Star.

Whatever the case may be, here might be the five best fits for Bronny James:

Bronny James best NBA draft fits

Los Angeles Lakers

This may be the obvious team for James, especially when one of the roster spots is occupied by his father, who is a four-time champion and four-time NBA MVP. The elder James can opt out of his contract when free agency hits, and if he goes back to the Lakers for a fifth season, this would be ideal for everyone involved as his son's development can be watched; Bronny won’t be rushed on the court, especially if he isn’t ready.

San Antonio Spurs

LeBron James and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich have a mutual respect, and had the 2020 Tokyo Olympics not been impacted by COVID-19, James would’ve enjoyed playing for Pop and Pop would’ve enjoyed coaching James for Team USA. The Spurs are known for their player development, and it’s easy to see why the Spurs are a desirable landing spot for Bronny. The Spurs know what kind of worker they will get in Bronny, and Bronny knows what the Spurs can provide. San Antonio is also in good position to select Bronny. Besides the Nos. 4 and 8 picks in the first round, the Spurs have picks No. 35 and No. 48 in the second round.

Dallas Mavericks

This is basically based on reported interest, as the NBA Finals runners-up have the No. 58 pick in the draft. When asked about the team’s interest in James, Dallas Mavericks president Nico Harrison didn’t have much to say about it. Harrison is very close to James, and based on the team’s salary cap situation, they aren’t expected to be players in free agency unless they spring a trade, so drafting James could be considered a low-risk move.

Phoenix Suns

The Suns hope that new head coach Mike Budenholzer can get the most out of their top-heavy but talented roster, but in the meantime, James was reportedly brought in for a workout, so there is interest there. Phoenix considers themselves a legit contender and wouldn’t do in any harm bring in James for a defensive presence, while adjusting to the physicality of the NBA game.

Detroit Pistons

The Pistons aren't taking James with the No. 5 pick, but they also have the 53rd pick in the second round. If James wants a chance to play and develop, the Pistons, who had the worst record in the NBA, could fit right in. There is absolutely no pressure to win, and it could actually get increased eyeballs for the team, who has missed the playoffs in each of the last five seasons. That trend is likely to continue in 2024-25.

Toronto Raptors

If Vegas was doing the selecting, the Raptors would use their No. 31 pick on James, and according to Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, who is Bronny's agent and also LeBron's agent, Toronto is right in the mix to make a play for him with Paul even without watching him workout. Paul said to ESPN that Masai Ujiri, the Raptors' president, “loves him,” adding, "They could take him without even seeing him at 31."

Minnesota Timberwolves

In an interview with ESPN, Paul said, “There are other teams that love Bronny. For example, Minnesota, Dallas, Toronto.” The Timberwolves have the 27th pick late in the first round and the 37th pick in the second round.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bronny James NBA draft fits: Lakers on list of best landing spots

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