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Lakers’ selection of Bronny James is a costly decision that leads to chaos

It’s historic, it’s heartwarming, it’s the most brilliant title yet for a franchise that desperately needs some good news.

But that’s not very smart. And, for two of the main people involved, that’s not very fair.

So a wet blanket should be thrown over the Lakers’ engineering of the most famous 55th overall pick in NBA draft history.

Yeah, they did it, of course they did it, they signed an untested 19-year-old named Bronny James on Thursday to join his father LeBron to become the NBA’s first father-son duo.

They did this even though Bronny was passed over by virtually every other NBA team with a chance to draft him.

They did it even though Bronny struggled last season for USC after returning from a bout of cardiac arrest that cost him five months.

They did so even though most experts agreed that his game — five points, three rebounds and two assists per appearance for the Trojans — could have benefited from at least one more year of college tutoring.

They apparently did it for the reason they do most things: to keep their superstar happy. LeBron had said he wanted to play with his son, LeBron can opt out of his contract this summer, they probably thought LeBron had to be happy at all costs.

But that seems like a high price to pay.

Granted, the highest fee won’t come from the Lakers, who, let’s face it, weren’t going to get a star with the 55th pick anyway. It was a no-loss selection that, from a staff perspective, cost them nothing.

The biggest cost won’t be on LeBron either, who gets to make history and play with his son and where’s the downside?

No, the highest price here will unfortunately be demanded from Bronny himself.

All the poetic discourses of commentators on the beauty of the father-son couple have failed to consider it from the son’s point of view.

Does Bronny really need this kind of pressure? Is it really fair to ask him to develop his game while he sits on the same bench as arguably the greatest player in history who also happens to be his father?

Critics will cry “nepotism” with every dribble. Pundits will scrutinize his father’s reaction to every shot. It was hard enough for Bronny to play college games with his father, drawing all the attention while sitting on the court. Can you imagine the heat he’ll feel with his father wearing the same uniform and hanging out in a nearby locker?

LeBron James, left, and Bronny James will be the first father-son duo to play in the NBA at the same time.
USC's Bronny James (6) brings the ball up the field during the first half.

LeBron James, left, and Bronny James will be the first father-son duo to play in the NBA at the same time. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times) (John Locher / Associated Press)

There will be a shining moment when they take the court together for the first time in a regular season game, likely a blowout win where Bronny comes in in the final minutes and LeBron throws him a pass for an all-oop dunk and history will be written and everyone will cry.

But aside from this photoshoot, how can playing with his dad give Bronny anything other than constant, controlled chaos?

Rare will be the interviews where he will not be asked about his father. Rarer still will be the accomplishment which is not judged in relation to one’s father.

Late second-round draft picks are rarely seen and rarely heard. But because of his closeness to his father, everything Bronny does will be caught on camera and everything he says will go viral.

It would be one thing if he was a top draft pick and had the game to stand up to scrutiny. But he was the fourth overall pick in the draft and will essentially still be in basketball school.

He will not learn on the job, but on the fire.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka explains why the team selected Bronny James and what’s next for LeBron James’ son. (Marissa Kraus / Los Angeles Times)

Even though Bronny spends much of his time with the South Bay Lakers, a minor league team, the circus will follow him there. After courageously overcoming a frightening medical challenge, this young man deserves a chance to get back on his feet at his own pace, in his own space. Instead, he’s now stuck under the brightest lights amidst the most aggressive schedules, obstacle after obstacle, and isn’t that fair?

A few months ago, when asked about the pre-draft hype in the spring, Bronny admitted, “Yeah, it’s a lot.”

Now it’s even more.

At the same press conference, Bronny also said: “My dream has always been to make my name known, to make a name for myself and, of course, to get to the NBA. I never thought about playing with my dad…”

His dream. Her name. A name. Not two names. But for now, it seems like an impossible dream.

If this goes as planned, for his first act as a Laker, seriously, Bronny might be wise to request a trade from Utah or Oklahoma City.

And he’s not the only one mired in this madness, as Bronny could be joined in his malaise by new coach JJ Redick.

Think about it. Redick tries to get closer to his stars. He’s trying to establish a culture. He’s trying to learn to lead.

The last thing he needs to worry about is managing the hype surrounding a second-round draft pick. Again, that’s neither smart nor fair.

How many pregame interview questions will be about Bronny’s progress? How much of the daily focus will be on a young player who will rarely play? How often will Redick have to protect his veterans from the distractions of a rookie?

And if Bronny develops faster than expected, how much pressure will Redick feel from LeBron’s camp to give the kid more minutes?

Lakers star LeBron James, right, pats Bronny James on the back before his college debut against Long Beach State in December.

Lakers star LeBron James, right, pats Bronny James on the back before his college debut against Long Beach State in December.

(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

In Bronny’s words, for a rookie NBA head coach, yes, that’s a lot.

Clearly, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka has good intentions.

He believes in the Lakers’ legacy of greatness and thinks this draft pick supports it.

“It seems like something magical,” Pelinka told reporters Thursday. “NBA history should be written in a Lakers uniform.”

He believes in the power of this glamorous franchise to withstand even greater scrutiny, and thinks this move embodies that.

“The greatest moments in sports happen with the Lakers, and that’s how we’re built, and we’re excited to see this story unfold,” he said.

As for Bronny and the stifling spotlight, Pelinka thinks the kid can handle it, noting, “Growing up the way he grew up, there’s a fishbowl, a lot of eyes watching everything you do, he has was able to handle all of this with extreme maturity. »

More than anything, it seems obvious that Pelinka believes he needs to keep LeBron in a Laker uniform, and he’s betting this pick will ensure that.

It’s a safe bet, but a very destabilizing one.

Bronny arrives. LeBron stays. The circus begins.

News Source : www.latimes.com
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