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The one thing NBA teams think Bronny James already excels at

Bronny James, LeBron James’ son, is making himself eligible for this June’s NBA draft. While he may decide to instead remain in school and transfer away from the University of Southern California, the allure of the NBA and the big bucks that come with it are extremely hard to turn down.

The problem is that the younger James didn’t exactly look like an NBA-ready player this year as a freshman. The 6-foot-4 guard shot well under 40% from the field and significantly less than 30% from 3-point range, and the reality is that if a guard or wing cannot hit from the perimeter, he likely won’t get any meaningful playing time.

The younger James isn’t much of a creator off the dribble, nor is he a legitimate scoring threat, so his ability to fill up the hoop from downtown will be essential to his NBA potential.

But according to Shams Charania, teams around the league think the son of the four-time MVP is ready to contribute on the defensive end (h/t Sports Illustrated).

“Bronny James is declaring for the 2024 NBA Draft, but he’s also maintaining his college eligibility, gonna enter the NCAA transfer portal, leaving USC regardless of where this goes,” Charania noted. “I’m told this is just the start of the process, where Bronny James’ priority is to stay in the draft of course, but that’s gonna depend on how his evaluation comes from his team workouts, team visits. He’s gonna have to go through a thorough evaluation through this predraft process.

“When I talk to NBA teams there’s a clear consensus that as a defender he’s already at that caliber of an NBA defender,” Charania continued. “We know about his basketball IQ as well, obviously great genes there, but shooting, offensive game, ballhandling, I think those are all things that scouts, talent evaluators will keep an eye on as he goes through the predraft process. I think if there’s a draft to be in, though, this is probably the draft, by all accounts, to stay in.”

Defense is still and will always be the key to winning championships, and excelling in that department always gives a player a chance to crack a team’s rotation. The younger James started to show his ability to be a strong defender and his willingness to give 100% in that department last season as a senior at Sierra Canyon School.

The consensus right now seems to be that he will either go late in the second round of the draft or be available as an undrafted free agent and get signed to a two-way contract, if he indeed remains draft-eligible.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire