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What the odds say: Where will Bronny land in the NBA draft?

Jeff Haynes / National Basketball Association / Getty

A projected second-round pick is stealing the headlines in one of the weakest drafts in modern NBA history. But when that prospect is Bronny James, the son of one of the greatest basketball players of all time, it's easy to see why he's the most discussed commodity leading up to the 2024 NBA Draft.

The hype surrounding Bronny - fueled by his father LeBron James' accomplishments, comments, and sustained on-court success - is translating to the betting markets ahead of the June 26 draft.

Bronny is +20000 (0.5% implied probability) to be the first overall pick at theScore Bet, the longest listed odds.

That half-percent probability might be too high. Even in one of the worst draft classes in recent memory, Bronny has no shot of being selected with the No. 1 pick. There's a better chance LeBron plays another 10 years.

But Bronny is somehow the most bet player to go No. 1 overall on theScore Bet and ESPN Bet. A prospect projected to fall out of the lottery usually wouldn't be listed as a potential No. 1 pick, but sportsbooks can cash in on the James name. Recreational bettors are taking a flier on Bronny and handing books money.

Nepotism isn't unique to the NBA. The children of legends in any industry get preferential treatment and often cut line, beating out more talented individuals simply because of a parent. That's what's happening with Bronny, but that doesn't mean he's not a prospect worth evaluating.

Bronny's a forecasted second-rounder who would go undrafted if he wasn't LeBron's kid.

LeBron has clearly stated his dream is to play with his son. However, like many father-son relationships, Bronny's wishes don't necessarily align with his father's.

“I would be happy about getting to the league instead of me thinking about playing with my dad,” Bronny said when he met with reporters at the NBA draft combine earlier this month. “But that’s not my mindset at all."

It's hard to evaluate Bronny based on his college career. He suffered cardiac arrest during a summer workout leading up to his freshman season at USC, missed the season's first eight games, and never found his groove in Southern California. He averaged 4.8 points per game in 19 minutes on 26% shooting from three.

Some scouts reportedly believe Bronny was misused at USC. He played off the ball more than point guard, the latter of which fits his skill set better as a high-IQ ball-handler who, much like his father, is a pass-first player.

At 6-foot-2, Bronny is an undersized guard and unreliable shooter. That's a combo that rarely succeeds in the NBA. Although Bronny shot well from deep at the NBA combine, it's a different equation with live defenders in a game.

Bronny is a project. Whether he lasts in the NBA won't be determined for years, but he won't be an immediate-impact rookie at 19 years old.

Bronny James team odds (excluding undrafted)

Team Odds
Lakers +155
Suns +1200
Jazz +1200
Cavs +1500
Heat +1500
Thunder +2000
Warriors +2500
Clippers +2500
Knicks +2500
76ers +2500

The Lakers - LeBron's current team - are unsurprisingly the favorites to select Bronny. They own the 17th and 55th picks (the Pelicans have until June 1 to decide if they want to take the Lakers' first-round pick this year or defer it to the 2025 draft).

If Bronny is available at 55, it's a no-brainer for the Lakers to select him and keep their superstar happy by fulfilling his dream. LeBron can opt out of his contract by June 29, but he's expected to remain with the Lakers next season regardless of his opt-out decision. Los Angeles drafting Bronny would certainly secure a commitment from LeBron.

The Suns have the second-best odds because they've been publicly linked to Bronny over the last few weeks. According to Shams Charania, Bronny has over 10 workout invites but will only work out for the Suns and Lakers. Phoenix, however, has no path to sign or trade for LeBron. It has the 22nd pick. Bronny is a second-round talent at best. It'll be considered a reach if he's drafted in the first round.

LeBron's camp has signaled that drafting Bronny doesn't mean LeBron's packing his things and leaving Los Angeles, but using a second-round pick on Bronny is a low-risk move with potentially big upside.

The Sixers are an interesting team to watch. They own the 16th and 41st pick. Philadelphia has a contending roster and the necessary cap space to sign LeBron. Daryl Morey will pursue the four-time champion if he opens his free agency for recruitment.

It's unlikely LeBron would leave Los Angeles for Philadelphia, but the addition of Bronny would make Philly a more enticing destination.

Bronny will likely play in the G League a ton in his first season. It's rare to use a first-round pick on someone a team anticipates initially playing at the developmental level, but Bronny's impact on a franchise goes beyond basketball. As LeBron's kid, he'll help with ticket sales and merchandise. And if it potentially lures LeBron, that's a plus.

Sam Oshtry is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on X @soshtry for more betting coverage.

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