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Doug Gottlieb: Bronny James is About to Become the 'Tommy Boy' of the NBA

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Doug Gottlieb: “I have my own AAU program and I know all the players, especially in Southern California who run these events. I get a chance to -- it’s called ‘coaching' -- but you basically show up and sub guys in and out at some of these All-Star events. So I’ve seen Bronny James play from his freshman year on, and I couldn’t believe he was a McDonald’s All-American last year.
I know that politics have always played a part in those selections. I’ll be honest in myself... I actually got to play in Magic Johnson’s Round Ball Classic, which I now think is the Jordan Brand Game. I can tell you honestly that I only got to play in that thing because there were some politics there. Chauncey Billups hurt his shoulder, so I was a fill-in. The reason I was a fill-in is because Sonny Vaccaro ran the game, Sonny and my dad had known each other for 40 years, I was probably on the borderline to not even being the next guy on the call list, but I got the call, got to play, and had a great time playing it. So I’m not going to sit here and say politics hadn’t been a part of it. We have even seen it with NBA draft picks in the second round. Giannis’ brothers have been in the NBA and they couldn’t play dead in a cowboy movie.
It is fascinating the timing of Bronny James declaring and LeBron James having a player option. I don’t think LeBron is switching teams, I think LeBron is all-in on the Lakers, and my guess is when it got a little bit murky in the middle of the season, they probably re-affirmed to him like ‘hey, we don’t think he’s an NBA player, but could we buy a late second-round draft pick, take Bronny, put him in the G-League and call him up once or twice so you guys can play together?' That seems reasonable.
Selfishly, LeBron wants to play on an NBA floor with his son. That’s great and can and probably will happen, but has anybody actually asked ‘is that what’s best for Bronny?’ Do you want to be ‘that guy’ who everyone knows you’re only there because your dad made it so? Do you want to be the ‘Tommy Boy’ of the NBA? He’s not a mess like the late great Chris Farley’s character was in ‘Tommy Boy’, but I mean, he couldn’t start at USC, who had a very disappointing season in a Pac-12 that wasn’t particularly good, and when he did start because of injuries, they didn’t win. So if you’re a bench player for USC in a year in which USC finishes bottom three of the Pac-12, and now you’re going to play in the NBA?
I think he could eventually be a really good college player and he would follow the natural progression of how it used to be for many freshmen. First year, you’re the first guard off the bench, next year you start, and by your third year you’re on an all-league team, and by your fourth year maybe you have a chance to be an All-American, and then you try to find a way to make it in the league or you go overseas and you play until you can’t play anymore. Even to get to that place, it’s going to take the right fit because he’s not really a point guard, and he also has to change his mentality – he's never really been an ‘Alpha.’ LeBron takes up all the oxygen and all the attention, and it’s in many ways great for Bronny because he can just be quiet and thoughtful, and has his own friends and whatever, but he does not have that special leadership sauce that quarterbacks have, that point guards have, that leaders have. You can learn, grow, and gain that but you kind of got to go off and do it on your own.
Bronny declaring for the Draft puts the Lakers in that awkward situation of ‘are we really going to do this??’ And you kind of have to. You don’t want to do the ‘F U’ to LeBron, ‘hey we’re not going to draft your son but we’ll sign him as a free agent and see it he makes it in camp!’... He declares for the NBA Draft but everybody knows he’s not close to being an NBA-ready player. I defend it by telling you I can name 15 guys that got drafted as ‘favors’. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen at many places in the NBA, but I actually have sympathy and empathy for Bronny, like ‘we’re really going to do this??’ I guess...
I know the Antetokounmpo brothers can’t play, and they look like they’re dribbling with their elbows, but we’re talking about Bronny James. It’s gotta be rough to be Bronny James anyway, like he didn’t ask for the negative or even the positive attention. He’s not a ‘look at me’ guy, but his dad is setting himself up for I guess ‘success’, but this is not Ken Griffey Jr, it's just not.
It does call into question the Lakers and how the Lakers have at least previously always been about winning. LeBron has earned the right to do this, but do you want to use it to make sure your son gets in the NBA when no one thinks reasonably he’s ready or good enough at this point, and not sure he’ll be ready or good enough at ANY point.” 

Watch Doug Gottlieb of Fox Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show discuss the reports of Bronny James, oldest son of LeBron James, shockingly declaring for the NBA Draft, and questioning whether that’s really the best idea for a player in Bronny who only averaged 4.8 points as a freshman for a 15-18 USC team this season.

Check out the segment above as Gottlieb compares Bronny to Chris Farley’s character in the 1995 comedy ‘Tommy Boy’, a movie where a daffy and half-witted Farley way over his skis is forced to take over his highly successful late father’s automobile parts factory.

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