Bronny James improved every year in high school; can he mimic that arc in NBA?

The LA Lakers rookie went from 4.1 to 8.8 to 14.1 points per game playing high school basketball for Sierra Canyon (California)
LA Lakers rookie Bronny James flexes during a 2022-23 preseason photo shoot at Sierra Canyon Basketball Media Day.
LA Lakers rookie Bronny James flexes during a 2022-23 preseason photo shoot at Sierra Canyon Basketball Media Day. / File photo by Heston Quan

Bronny James has been in the spotlight since his freshman year at Sierra Canyon High School in Southern California, and there's no sign of dimming ahead as his LA Lakers career begins.

Just about everything the son (and now teammate) of LeBron James does seems to draw a headline.

Bronny James made his NBA summer league debut Saturday, scoring four points on 2-of-9 shooting, but he missed Sunday's California Classic in San Francisco with a mild knee injury. He's expected to return Wednesday against the Miami Heat.

If you look at Bronny's freshman year stats at Sierra Canyon and then USC, that four-point debut makes a lot of sense.

He played just one season for the Trojans, averaging 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists. Those stats are eerily similar to his first year at Sierra Canyon.

Here were Bronny James' stats in his four years playing for the Trailblazers:

  • Freshman: 4.1 points, 1.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists
  • Sophomore: Out most of the season due to injury/surgery; played just three games
  • Junior: 8.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.9 steals
  • Senior: 14.1 points; 5.5 rebounds; 2.4 assists; 1.7 steals

Here are highlights from Bronny's high school career:

Other than that sophomore year blip, would his arc have been similar if he stayed at USC? We'll never know.

One thing we know for sure is that it's unfair to try to compare him to his dad. Here are LeBron's high school stats in his four years playing for St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron, Ohio:

  • Freshman: 21 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists
  • Sophomore: 25.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 3.8 steals
  • Junior: 29 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 3.3 steals
  • Senior: 31.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 3.4 steals

LeBron says of Bronny that what his eldest son doesn't have in common with his dad will carry him far.

"He does not care about nobody," LeBron told ESPN. "He doesn't even listen to that stuff. He's like the coolest. He's like the complete opposite of his dad. His dad will say something. Bro does not care. ... Everything that's being said about him, he really does not care."

Dad's assessment syncs up with what Bronny told SBLive Sports' Andy Buhler in 2023 after the first day of Nike Hoop Summit practices in Portland, Oregon:

"I always believe in myself; I try to keep a healthy mindset for myself. But I have goals. I know other people have goals. Whatever the decision is, it is what it is, but I’m happy with the outcome of it."

-- Mike Swanson | | @sblivesports

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Mike Swanson, SBLive Sports


Mike Swanson is the Trending News Editor for SBLive Sports. He's been in journalism since 2003, having worked as a reporter, city editor, copy editor and high school sports editor in California, Connecticut and Oregon.