Bronny James is the most famous basketball offspring in the country.
LeBron’s son is currently ranked 24th ESPN’s Top 25 for the Class of 2023, and he has been in the spotlight since he first hit the AAU circuit as an adolescent. After all, his father is one of the best basketball players on the planet.
But Bronny is also developing a personality for himself. When asked during a livestream who his dad was, James humorously answered “Steph Curry,” which got a good laugh from LeBron.
The comment might have been made in jest, but there was added humor value due to some of the tense moments between James and Curry in past NBA Finals.
In fact, just for fun, let’s map out what Bronny’s playstyle might look like. Will he more closely resemble the combination of strength, athleticism and intelligence of his father, or might he be more of an off-ball savant and a gunner like Curry?
For clarification, this piece is not meant to suggest Bronny James will be as prolific as either of these future Hall of Famers. That is an unfair standard for anyone to set when it come’s to Bronny’s career.
Rather, it will assess his game and compare it to that of LeBron and Steph.
What makes “King James” and “Chef Curry” special?
Before concluding which player Bronny might resemble, we need to understand the distinct qualities LeBron and Steph possess that make them among the greatest players in league history.
LeBron’s greatness stems primarily from his unprecedented combination of size, strength, skill and basketball IQ. At 6’9″ and close to 260 pounds of pure muscle, he routinely overwhelms defenders with his strength in the post. When he gets out in transition, it is pretty much a done deal.
But James’ game has evolved over time, notably in terms of his growing comfort level shooting from the perimeter. LeBron will shoot when given the space. He will also blow right by defenders to get into the paint.
Not to mention, James is one of the smartest players ever. He knows exactly where teammates are going to be at the precise moment he makes a basketball move, whether its his assessment of spacing or spotting the open man. In fact, it is James’ IQ that has really cemented his place among the game’s greats.
Curry’s game is quite different.
Steph has always had one of the best handles in the league. He exploits mismatches off the dribble and creates angles from which to launch.
But Steve Kerr really unlocked Curry’s full potential by instilling him as an off-ball threat in Golden State’s offense. Curry hunts threes by running around screens and setting off-ball screens of his own in order to confuse opposing defenses.
LeBron is more of a domineering presence on the floor. Steph’s game is built on finesse and limitless range. Yet both have had tremendous success and influence on the game.
What does Bronny’s game look like?
Bronny’s game, in comparison to LeBron and Steph, might best be described as something of a hybrid.
LeBron has been on record how Bronny is a much better shooter than he was at his son’s age. But Bronny–who just finished his freshman year at Sierra Canyon–has already grown to 6’2,” and he is pretty darn strong himself.
Bronny’s athleticism is coming along quite quickly. He also has excellent court vision, particularly when drawing an extra defender. In fact, while he has no problem shooting if open, Bronny is at his best when he can get into the lane and make plays for himself or others.
Do those qualities sound familiar?
It only makes sense Bronny closely resembles many of the same attributes as his pops. LeBron has been a fairly consistent presence at Bronny’s games since his son first started playing competitively.
Bronny is something of a combo guard right now. Given his current stature and LeBron’s past comments about his shooting ability, one might suggest Bronny will be more like Curry. But Bronny is much better with the ball in his hands, and he is more of an active defender than Curry.
Plus, it is important to remember Bronny should continue to grow. If he sprouts upward, Bronny is likely to exploit his athletic abilities and high IQ, rather than rely on his shooting touch.
Who knows, maybe NBA fans will still have the chance to see father and son compete against or even alongside one another.
For now, Bronny should be allowed to develop and build.