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Bronny James should be in college

Wed, June 26th, 2024

The Opening Tip

  • Why is Bronny James in this draft?

  • We miss Jaylen Brown dunking on people

  • Brooklyn’s haul for KD is historic

Tonight’s NBA Draft, 8PM EST

1. This is a sham and everyone should be embarrassed

Beyond the obvious, there is zero reason to think Bronny James is an NBA prospect. 

  • He played 25 games as a freshman for a 15-18 USC team, averaging 4.8 PPG on 36.6 percent shooting. He’s 6-foot-1 and doesn’t dribble or pass particularly well. 

His best attribute is that he appears willing to try on defense. As such, he has (or has been told to) sell himself as a Jrue Holiday, Derrick White or Davion Mitchell. (His words.) So, a potential Hall of Famer, an ace role player on a title team, or an excellent college player on a national champion who was picked in the lottery.

The measurables, the stats, the comparisons -- this is all, of course, insane. Bronny James should be getting reps at a mid-major college. Instead, he’s going to get drafted tonight or tomorrow, almost definitely by the Lakers, a team shadow-run by an aging legend with legacy brain rot and a power-hungry agent in Rich Paul who represents both father and son.

Side note: In the past week, Paul has said Bronny won’t sign a ‘two-way’ deal -- standard practice for second-rounders -- and has casually admitted he has the power to ‘force LA to take (Bronny) at (No.) 17.’

Who is this good for? Not Bronny, obviously, who is the only sympathetic figure in any of this. Is it good business for the Lakers? Are they hoping to boost their G-League revenue? Is he good enough to be a G-Leaguer? (Probably not.) Is he going to be shoe-horned into LA’s 15-man roster next season? Will JJ Redick (he’s the new coach, btw) be forced to play him? What happens when he gets exposed by actual NBA players? When his dad retires in two years and he’s washed out of a league he wasn’t ready for, what’s next? If the one reason driving this is ‘it would be cool,’ that is not good enough.

Again, this is a sham and everyone should be embarrassed.

(BUT, if it’s going to happen, the Celtics should draft him at No. 54 and hold him for ransom.)

[READ: The Ringer’s final NBA mock draft]

2. Daily GIF: This was cool

No higher reason for this section. Just doing some reminiscing.

[WATCH: 24 minutes of Celtics propaganda]

3. Trivia

Which NBA draft has produced the most All-Stars?

1996 draft

• 1985 draft

2003 draft

• 2009 draft

Guess, click and see if you're right.

4. The Nets’ haul for KD is breathtaking

The Nets traded Mikal Bridges to the Knicks yesterday. The upshot is that the Knicks get to play their buddy-buddy-buddy-buddy Villanova cop movie for a few years, which could definitely lead to an NBA Finals berth or something close to it.

The remarkable-ness of it all is (1) what New York gave up for Bridges and (2) the final haul the Nets got in the KD trade.

Bridges-to-New York specifics: 

  • Knicks get: Mikal Bridges

  • Nets get: Four unprotected firsts from the Knicks (‘25, ‘27, ‘29, ‘31), a protected first originally from Milwaukee (‘25), an unprotected pick swap (‘28), two seconds (‘25, ‘26) and Bojan Bogdanović

KD-to-Phoenix specifics: 

  • Suns get: Kevin Durant, T.J. Warren

  • Nets get: Four unprotected firsts from the Suns (‘23, ‘25, ‘27, ‘29), an unprotected pick swap (‘28), Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson

So, by our math … the Nets (so far) have received nine first round picks from 2023-31 (eight unprotected), two unprotected pick swaps in the same year (we have no idea how that works) and two second round picks for Durant. (They can still turn Cam Johnson into more assets.)

That haul is breathtaking.

[READ: Did the Knicks just get fleeced on the most expensive reunion ever?]

Quick hits

  • Also last night, the Nets and Rockets made one of the most confusing trades we’ve ever seen. Good luck parsing it

  • Here’s David Stern trying on LeBron’s suit during the 2003 draft. 

  • The Warriors have entered the Paul George sweepstakes. 

  • If you live in Denver and want to be the next Rocky, inquire within.

  • Stephen A. says the Suns want out of the Kevin Durant business. 

  • The Knicks still hope to sign OG Anunoby.

Reads + Pods

  • Caitlin Clark’s new reality [New Yorker]

  • How many picks?! What to make of this monster Knicks-Nets megatrade for Mikal Bridges [ESPN]

  • After all that, the Lakers hire LeBron’s podcast co-host [Defector]

That's the buzzer.
Thanks for reading the 392nd edition of The Grip.