Lakers Mock Draft: 3 prospects Lakers must avoid if they keep their first-round pick

The Los Angeles Lakers don't yet know if they will have a first-round pick, but if they do they need to avoid drafting these players at all costs.
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers and son Bronny James, USC Trojams
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers and son Bronny James, USC Trojams / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages
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No. 1: Bronny James, USC Trojans

It would be impossible to write about players the Los Angeles Lakers must avoid drafting in the first round and not bring up LeBron James Jr.

Bronny has dominated headlines during the draft cycle, drawing incredible interest at the NBA Draft Combine. Rumors are popping up about teams interested in drafting him, including the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz.

The first reason the Lakers should not draft Bronny James is that he isn't worth a first-round pick. Even Bronny-fawning ESPN has the younger James ranked 54th. The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor has him 69th. He's not to be found in the Top 40 of Krysten Peek's big board over on Yahoo Sports.

Even if you buy into Bronny James's athletic potential and defensive chops, an optimistic assessment should have him firmly in the second round. Taking him 17th would be a colossal reach and poor use of the best draft asset they have.

The other reason the Lakers should not draft Bronny is because of what it will do to the young kid. Instead of going to a team less in the spotlight that will only play his father a couple of times a season, going to the Lakers would force Bronny and this story into the forefront. Every website, magazine and newspaper will be writing about the next Cal Ripken and son. It would be the media circus of all media circuses.

If the Lakers want to keep LeBron James around, they should do so without needing to waste a pick on Bronny. If LeBron James wants his son to flourish in the NBA, he needs to be on a different team than his father. If the organization wants to win next season, taking an incredibly raw teenager who will take years to make an impact is not the play.

The Lakers will have a chance to add a solid contributor to their roster in the 2024 NBA Draft. To do so, they will need to avoid these three prospects like their life depends on it. In a way, it does.