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How can you hate on Lakers drafting Bronny James? Here’s why it’s one of my favorite picks of 2024 NBA Draft

Written by on June 27, 2024

The 2024 NBA Draft is officially in the books.

In total, 58 selections were made over two days. Zaccharie Risacher was the first player picked. Ariel Hukporti was the last player picked. Needless to say, I didn’t agree with everything that was done — most notably the Bucks using the No. 23 pick on a 19 year-old who just averaged 2.9 points per game as a professional in Australia despite Milwaukee being in win-now mode with a not-getting-any-younger core of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, who may be on the trade block. 

How is AJ Johnson going to help next season?

Odds are, he won’t. 

That’s why what the Bucks did with the 23rd pick felt like a missed opportunity — especially in an Eastern Conference where the Celtics just won their 18th NBA championship and added a plug-and-play scorer (Baylor Scheierman) with the 30th pick, and where the Sixers just used the 16th pick to add a proven shooter (Jared McCain) to help Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, and, of course, where New York just added Member No. 4 of the Villanova Knicks

If I were the Greek Freak, I would not be pleased.

But whatever. That’s not my problem. And I don’t want to focus on the negative any more with so many franchises making picks that I actually understood and approved. So let’s focus on those, shall we?

Here are five of my favorite picks from the 2024 NBA Draft.

1. Reed Sheppard to the Rockets with the 3rd pick

I’ve been on record for a while that I believe Reed Sheppard will be the best player to emerge from this class. So I’m a fan of Houston getting him three picks into this draft. Could the Rockets have moved the pick for a veteran role player? Yeah, probably. But why? With a lead guard who is an elite shooter on the board, I could not have turned in my pick fast enough if I were Houston. I love what the Rockets did and would happily invest in Sheppard’s future. He’s a future All-Star, I think.

2. Donovan Clingan to the Blazers with the 7th pick

There were reports leading up to the draft that multiple teams — among them the Grizzlies — were interested in moving up to No. 3 or No. 5 or even No. 6 to grab Donovan Clingan, the 7-foot-2 center who just helped UConn win back-to-back national championships. Those reports could’ve influenced the Blazers to pay a price to move up themselves — but they instead trusted their own intel, held firm and landed a franchise center deeper in the draft than many projected Clingan to go. Kudos to GM Joe Cronin.

3. Devin Carter to the Kings with the 13th pick

In my final mock draft, I had Devin Carter projected to go in the top 10 after what everybody described as an incredible pre-draft process in which he impressed front offices in both workouts and interviews. The 6-foot-3 point guard is the reigning Big East Player of the Year and, at 22 years-old, physically mature enough to contribute on Opening Night, which is exactly what the Kings needed to add as they try to compete in a Western Conference that seems to be getting more and more stacked every year.

4. Dalton Knecht to the Lakers with the 17th pick

Remember how I didn’t like what the Bucks did with the 23rd pick? It’s the same reason I love what the Lakers did with the 17th pick, i.e., select a player who can help an aging core immediately. Dalton Knecht can do that. I don’t fully understand why he slipped this far in a draft where some had him projected to go at least 10 picks higher. (Perhaps it’s that he’s already 23-years-old.) Regardless, it was a good thing for the Lakers as they added a 6-foot-6 wing who can shoot on the move and from all over the floor as they try to make at least one more deep playoff run with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

5. Bronny James to the Lakers with the 55th pick

I realize this development wasn’t popular with everybody — mostly because the only reason the Lakers used a second-round pick on Bronny James is because he’s LeBron James’ oldest son. That’s the truth. It’s OK to acknowledge it. And it’s also OK to be OK with it, if not completely enthused about it, because, man, when you rip away all of the nonsense that’s filled television segments for weeks, this really is an awesome story.

LeBron was raised with no father.

That’s not always easy.

But, best I can tell from a distance, that experience actually impacted him in a positive way and led to him being a super-involved dad to three children who are growing up vastly differently than the way he was raised. On the record, LeBron said years ago that it is his dream to play in the NBA with his son. Now, he’ll get that history-making opportunity, and I’m just not comfortable dumping on that when it’s actually very sweet.


The story of LeBron and Bronny playing together is too sweet to seriously make fun of (they’re pictured together here in 2010).  Getty Images

Did the entire process get manipulated? Yes. Could it reasonably be described as nepotism? Sure. But this kind of stuff actually happens in basketball all the time. Billy Donovan has helped his son land jobs. John Calipari has helped his son land jobs. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s brother has been on the roster in Milwaukee for five years. Jalen Brunson’s father is on staff in New York. In other words, there is nothing too unique about LeBron and his agent creating this situation for Bronny. And though some have criticized the Lakers for going along with the plan, I personally think the 55th pick (that typically amounts to nothing) is a small price to pay to keep the NBA’s all-time leading scorer happy and ensure he signs an extension and retires with the franchise.

The post How can you hate on Lakers drafting Bronny James? Here’s why it’s one of my favorite picks of 2024 NBA Draft first appeared on CBS Sports.

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