Phoenix Suns draft player profile: Bronny James

The Phoenix Suns have so far been linked with Bronny James so as to possibly get his father to The Valley, but what about the merits of taking him alone?
USC v Arizona
USC v Arizona / David Becker/GettyImages

As draft day approaches, much of the conversation surrounding Bronny James has been focused on the possibility that his father, LeBron, could sign with the team that drafts the younger James.

That might seem a bit unfair to a once highly thought of prospect, but a serious medical situation contributed to a bad freshman year at USC which saw his draft stock fall.

He’s now widely seen as a 2nd-round talent, and those types of players are rarely discussed unless there's outside noise surrounding them. The biggest star in the sport taking a paycut to play with his son would certainly qualify.

It’s a tantalizing possibility, especially for a cap-strapped team like the Phoenix Suns, but one that will likely stay a dream.

This week, the James’ agent Rich Paul came out and squashed the idea of a package deal involving Bronny and LeBron, specifically saying that LeBron wouldn’t take the minimum from the Suns or anyone else.

Of course, he couldn’t say if he would since that’d be a tampering violation, but the idea of LeBron taking that big of a paycut was always exceedingly unlikely. Therefor, any teams that want to draft Bronny have to weigh the merits of drafting him for himself.

Given that the Suns will work him out a second time, it appears there is legitimate interest in the player, but they should steer clear.

In that aforementioned season at USC, Bronny averaged just 4.8/2.8/2.1 on sub 40% shooting. Drafting players isn't always based on stats, but that lack of production is alarming. Aside from the lackluster stats, his skillset make it hard to envision a seamless fit in Phoenix.

Bronny is a 6’2 combo guard. That height, which he registered at the combine, was a bit shocking since he had been listed at 6’4 as a senior in high school and at USC. He definitely plays bigger than that due to his frame and elite athleticism, but that’s still too short for someone who’s not projected to be a point guard.

He doesn’t have the requisite ball handling or high-level playmaking ability to make a full-time switch to the position a realistic possibility. The Suns have too many players who fit that mold, as well as a serious size problem. Adding an undersized combo guard is the last archetype they should be targeting.

Bronny's 3-point shooting was looked at as strength throughout high school, but his year at USC saw him convert just 26% of those looks from the shorter line. He showed his potential at the combine when he put up the second-best 3-point performance of anyone there, but it’s tough to be sold by the smaller sample size, and his sub 70% FT doesn't bode well for improvement either.

The one area of the game that James should thrive in is on the defensive end. He projects as a well above average guard and off-ball defender, though his size will limit him against some of the bigger guards in the league.

Unfortunately, a guard defender isn’t something the Suns are in need of either. They want Devin Booker and Bradley Beal to matchup up on opposing guards, not to get smaller as a team and force those two to guard wings.

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And even if Bronny turns into an elite defender, he won't be able to stay on the court if he can't contribute on offense. There's no reason for the Suns to take that risk when they really don't need that type of defender in the first place.

Even in an ideal scenario where he capitalizes on his physical tools and reaches his potential as a shooter, he doesn’t fix any of the major problems the Suns have. They can’t afford to use one of their few premier assets on someone who doesn't add size or playmaking.

That's why a trade down situation still wouldn't make much sense. Picking him in the second round would be better value, but he simply doesn't fill a need. If the Suns do stay put and take Bronny at 22, then it might be time to dream.