Lakers inevitably draft Bronny James at No. 55: Instant reaction and analysis

The Los Angeles Lakers have selected Bronny James at No. 55 overall in the 2024 NBA Draft. Just as they were expected to.
USC v Washington
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The Los Angeles Lakers have done the inevitable and selected Bronny James in the second round of the 2024 NBA Draft. After months, if not years, of speculation, the Lakers made it official and added James to their roster in the same summer his father, LeBron James, is eligible to enter free agency.

James will now come to Los Angeles with the expectation of being able to carve out a role in a rotation that is looking for 3-and-D specialists.

James entered the collegiate ranks as a four-star recruit with considerable hype surrounding his upside. Unfortunately, he went into cardiac arrest shortly before the beginning of his freshman season and understandably struggled to find his form once he returned to the court.

Optimism persists regarding his ability to develop into an NBA-caliber player, and Los Angeles is taking a chance on that outcome.

James measured at just under 6'2" and 210 pounds at the 2024 NBA Draft Combine, impressing with a 6'7.25" wingspan and a 40.5" max vertical leap. It was an impressive display of the length and athleticism that has the Lakers believing that he can be a defensive specialist for them.

James was also heralded as a quality shooter at the high school level, thus resulting in general manager Rob Pelinka overlooking the shooting woes that plagued his collegiate career.

In the event that he realizes his potential, James could fill a void in the rotation. The Lakers ranked No. 24 in the NBA this past season in three-point field goals made and No. 28 in attempts despite finishing in the top 10 in efficiency.

Los Angeles also ranked No. 28 in three-point field goals allowed this past season, thus resulting in the need for improved defensive talent.

If James is able to step up as a 3-and-D specialist, it's conceivable that he could find a consistent role in the rotation. JJ Redick is looking for point-of-attack defenders, as well as playmakers who can create for others and space the floor.

The opportunity now exists for James to justify the hype and come into his own as the type of player he envisions himself becoming.

Leading up to the 2024 NBA Draft, James identified Jrue Holiday, Davion Mitchell, and Derrick White as the players he patterns his game after. It's a promising sign that his ambition is to become a defensive-minded player who can provide off-ball value at the highest level.

If James can live up to that potential, the Lakers will have found a steal of a pick at No. 55 overall.