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One of the most intriguing questions of the 2024 NBA Draft cycle will be answered Thursday when USC guard Bronny James could hear his name called at the draft. The son of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is the 55th-ranked player in CBS Sports Prospect Rankings and projects as a second-round pick.

The Lakers hold a pick at No. 55 in the second round of the draft and some mock drafts have projected that pick will be used to select Bronny. The older James expressed his public desire over the years to play with his oldest son in the NBA, and this is the golden opportunity to do just that. 

While it's no guarantee that Bronny will end up a member of the Lakers on draft night, it appears to be the most likely outcome. There are odds out for James to get drafted by each of the 30 NBA teams. The Lakers are favored at -130, but that implies only a 56.52% chance -- or a 43.48% chance that Bronny will be drafted by a different team than the Lakers.

The Phoenix Suns (+700), Dallas Mavericks (+900), Minnesota Timberwolves (+1000) and Toronto Raptors (+1000) have the most favorable odds of landing Bronny after the Lakers.

Here is where our CBS Sports experts project Bronny James to be drafted.

Gary Parrish: Lakers land Bronny at No. 55

Never before has a borderline NBA prospect been discussed and debated this much leading into a draft. It's kind of awkward, honestly, because the same player with a different father and name wouldn't even be a part of the conversation. Regardless, at this point, I'm assuming Bronny James will actually be selected Thursday -- but not until the 55th pick, when Los Angeles executes its lone second-round pick. It'll be a relatively small price for the Lakers to pay to placate the NBA's all-time scoring leader. Then LeBron and Bronny can make history next season by playing together as a father-son combo in the NBA, presumably in garbage time when most teams clear the benches.

Adam Finkelstein: All signs point to Lakers at No. 55

I've been saying for a year now that I expected the Lakers, and only the Lakers, to draft Bronny. It's been almost three years since Lebron started saying his final goal was to play with his son, and regardless of what has happened between the lines or the more recent attempts to move those goal posts, everything that has happened since has supported that mission. From Bronny only working out for two teams, to Rich Paul saying he wouldn't sign a two-way deal, to the timing of Lebron's own free agency maximizing his already considerable influence given his still all-star caliber level of play and the influence of Klutch. Bronny to the Lakers at No. 55. The only potential in my opinion is if they move up higher in the second round to avoid any unexpected complications. 

Matt Norlander: It's the Lakers at No. 55 or bust

Given that this is the last time we're going to write about Bronny James as a prospect before the NBA Draft begins (I think? Hope? Please?), one last bit from me on this: I wish he'd returned, played significantly better as a sophomore, benefitted himself and college basketball and made his profile much more plausible as a draftable guy. But that's not where we're at, and unfortunately I do think we're going to look back and ask and wonder if the outcome would have been different if he took the scenic route before being shoehorned into the league. That said, I can't even talk myself into anyone but LA taking him. I think other franchises aren't interested enough in him as a fringe-fringe-fringe guy to make it worth the hassle and headache. It's the Lakers at No. 55 or bust. Or, unfortunately, both. What could have been.

NBA: Combine
Bronny James was in the media spotlight at the NBA Draft Combine. USATSI

Kyle Boone: Lakers check two boxes  

Los Angeles holds two picks in the 2024 NBA Draft entering Wednesday -- No. 17 and No. 55 -- and most around the league believe its second pick is earmarked to keep The King happy by bringing in his namesake and eldest child. That's where I land, too. At No. 55, the Lakers can get a two-fer both by securing a promising young prospect and by guaranteeing that LeBron will get what he's long dreamt of: playing in the NBA with his son. And on the same team, no less. 

David Cobb: Bronny to the Lakers, but...

If the Lakers don't select Bronny, then no one will. But it would make for peak NBA drama if another team drafted him solely to gain negotiating leverage. An opposing general manager with ruthless pragmatism and blatant disrespect for LeBron could take Bronny and then force the Lakers to cede assets to acquire him via trade. Would it be a jerk move? Yes. But considering how intent LeBron is on playing with his son, it's easy to envision him leaning on the front office to do whatever it might take in order to get Bronny into a Lakers uniform. It's unlikely that a rival front office would have the appetite for such a stunt, but it's something to consider.

Cameron Salerno: Lakers taking Bronny a sure thing

In a draft full of unpredictability, Bronny James going to the Lakers in the second round is one of the surest outcomes possible. As I wrote last week, the Lakers hiring JJ Redick affirms the belief that LeBron James will play with his son next season in Los Angeles. The Lakers may need to trade up within the second round to secure Bronny, but it appears he would likely be there at No. 55 because his agent, Rich Paul, publicly stated his desire to send Bronny to a place where he can get a guaranteed contract. Bronny to the Lakers makes too much sense.