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NEW YORK – I know it’s the playoffs, so be patient with me for a second here, but I went and saw famous NBA son Bronny James play in person this past weekend.
LeBron has said that he plans to play his last professional season with his son, and since then, I’ve found myself wondering if we’re sure Bronny is an NBA player. He is not a top-25 recruit, at least as of right now, and it’s not exactly common for that level of a prospect to be one-and-done in college basketball. But can he play in the league eventually?
During the game that I watched at The Battle in New York City (highlights here), Bronny’s AAU squad Strive for Greatness (17U) was matched up against the NY Rens. I made the trip because I wanted to evaluate Bronny against NBA-caliber talent like future Overtime Elite star Naas Cunningham (the top overall recruit in the Class of 2024) and North Carolina-commit Simeon Wilcher (No. 13 recruit in 2023).
It was my first time watching Bronny play up close and personal, and immediately, it was obvious that he already carries himself like a pro. However, while he is listed at 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, I was surprised that I felt like LeBron’s son was actually one of the smallest guys on the court. He’s not overwhelming anyone with his size and he looks more like a point guard than a wing, but he does not lack athleticism.
Bronny played more off-ball than you would expect. But he was levels above everyone with his passing, court vision, and playmaking instincts. When the defense guarded him tight, for example, he made smart possessions to relieve the pressure and find the cutter or spot-up shooter.
Otherwise, there were two aspects of his game I found most impressive, and one was that he was incredibly engaged defensively. As a defensive anchor at the point of attack, he was constantly calling out plays as he saw them, he willingly collapsed onto shooters on the perimeter, his motor never stopped, and he seemed to enjoy making winning plays that do not show up in the box score like diving for loose balls.
Additionally, what I loved most was his confidence. His best highlight actually came after his shot was blocked on the perimeter. Rather than sulk, he locked in, and he completed a chase-down block, swatting away the layup attempt in transition.
– Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) May 21, 2022
LeBron was there, and he seemed excited about the heart and hustle his son showed. I was also enthusiastic about it, and it made me more confident in his NBA future as a defensive player sort of in the mold of Grizzlies guard De’Anthony Melton.
While I can not confidently assess whether or not he’ll have success at the next level, just based on LeBron’s legacy, I think he’ll get a shot to at least prove it to us one way or another.
Andrew Wiggins may have had the highlight of his career on Sunday, dunking all over Luka Doncic in a winning effort by the Warriors. Here is what our own Charles Curtis had to say:
“Oh man. This might be the dunk of the postseason.
With the Golden State Warriors up 91-83 with 6:40 left in the fourth quarter of a Western Finals Game 3 that the Dubs would win, Andrew Wiggins took off in the paint, and Luka Doncic decided to challenge him.
It was probably Doncic’s only mistake of the night. Because Wiggins completely dunked all over him, and Doncic got knocked in the face in the process, sending him to the floor.
The posterization was instantly everywhere, with angles and photos being shared a ton. ”
Yeah, sorry, Luka. Wiggins was going to put someone on a poster, and I hate that it had to be you.
One to Watch
Celtics (-6.5, -320) vs. Heat (+250), O / U 206.5, 8:30 PM ET
Miami is up 2-1 in this series, but if Boston is able to steal Game 4, the Celtics will carry a ton of momentum. The Heat are playing without Tyler Herro, and they have a few other nagging injuries that could limit their productivity in this one.
Who’s in and out?
– Tyler Herro (quad) is out against Boston
– Max Strus (hamstring), Kyle Lowry (hamstring), Jimmy Butler (knee), Gabe Vincent (hamstring), PJ Tucker (knee) are all questionable
– Jayson Tatum (shoulder) is probable against the Heat
– Marcus Smart (ankle) and Robert Williams (knee) are questionable
– A mic’d up ref asked Mavericks’ Theo Pinson to change his shirt before Game 3 and he refused
—Steph Curry got tripped and NBA fans had a ton of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ jokes
—Stay or go: Ky Carlin predicts what Sixers will do with their 5 free agents
—Rookie Wire’s Cody Taylor evaluates the top scrimmage performers from the NBA combine
– HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto explains how NBA coaches get fired
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