LeBron James is still an elite-level NBA superstar right now for the Los Angeles Lakers. But he won’t be playing pro ball for a lot longer, and one of his life goals outside of his own athletic career is to see his son Bronny make it to the NBA and succeed.The younger James is currently a freshman at the University of Southern California. While he has shown occasional glimpses of his potential, he is, by and large, a project player at this stage of his development.He’s averaging 5.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists while shooting just 36.5% from the field and 27.5% from 3-point range. Those aren’t exactly the numbers of a college player who is ready for the next level.Brendan Marks of The Athletic gave a sobering outline of where the younger James is right now in his basketball journey while offering a stark contrast to teammate Isaiah Collier, who could be a lottery pick this June.Via The Athletic:

“And therein lies the reality of the entire Bronny James situation,” wrote Marks. “He is a good basketball player … but right now, he is not a great one. He is a freshman still developing. So yes, he makes silly mistakes — like not finishing one second-half cut, which led to a USC turnover and [head coach Andy] Enfield barking across the court with his pointer finger extended. But he also has promising flashes. … It’s a mixed bag. It’s no different than dozens of other talented but raw prospects across the country.“This one just happens to have a stupendous surname.“Take away that bloodline, and Bronny James is a multi-year college player, one who needs to continue honing his skills. Reminder: He is not even a starter now, on one of the most disappointing teams in the worst of all six power conferences, per KenPom. (USC was picked to finish second in the Pac-12 and was ranked No. 21 in the preseason AP poll. The Trojans are one game ahead of Oregon State for last place in the league). What about that suggests this guy is ready for the NBA next season? Absolutely nothing. The disparity in effectiveness between him and Collier — the consensus No. 1 recruit in this freshman class, who has been talked about as the potential No. 1 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft — wasn’t stark on Saturday; it was a chasm. Collier finished with 25 points, a season-best nine assists, three steals, two thunderous blocks — both on 6-foot-11, 265-pound [University of Colorado Boulder] Buffaloes big man Eddie Lampkin Jr. — and only one turnover in almost 42 minutes of action. He scored the game-tying basket at the end of the first regulation, and Enfield leaned on him like a cane the entire evening.“That is a dude ready to play professional basketball. Bronny James is not, at least not yet.”

In fact, John Hollinger, The Athletic’s senior NBA columnist and a former executive for the Memphis Grizzlies, not to mention an analytics pioneer, gave even more of a reality check of where the younger James is now and where his ceiling could be.

“I asked The Athletic senior NBA columnist John Hollinger — who used to evaluate talent for a living as the Memphis Grizzlies’ vice president of basketball operations — what he made of Bronny as a prospect,” wrote Marks.“‘He’s not a guy who would normally be a one-and-done,’ Hollinger said.“Hollinger noted Bronny’s strong frame and feel for the game as positives. But he also noted how the USC freshman, as all the stats and game film show, struggles to score consistently at any level right now. Hollinger suggested that Bronny’s upside might eventually be akin to that of Gary Harris.”

That final comment will likely cause fans of the elder James to let out a sigh. Harris, a guard who currently plays for the Orlando Magic, has had a decent nine-year career, and he has a career average of 11.2 points per game.That’s not bad at all, and if that is only as good as the younger James will be in the NBA, he can make a nice living for himself. But of course, that would probably leave plenty of fans wanting a lot more from the son of one of the greatest basketball players ever.Right now, his best move would be to stay in school, perhaps for two or even three more years, rather than declare for this June’s draft, as some have been expecting him to.Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire