August 11, 2022

At some point in each of the last five NBA Finals games, Golden State fielded a roster consisting of four players whose fathers played in the NBA. While eventual NBA Finals MVP Stephen Curry has a well-documented basketball lineage through his father, Dell, it’s a trait Curry shares with Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Gary Payton II from the Warriors championship roster.

All four are second-generation pros and examples of a trend that will be on full display at the NBA’s next big event after the Warriors’ championship parade on Monday. When NBA commissioner Adam Silver takes the stage at New York’s Barclays Center on Thursday to announce the top pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, it’s a near guarantee he’ll call out a player’s name with a family with a high standard. basketball history.

Although there are no guarantees in basketball scouting – even prospects with large family heirlooms suffer from injuries or face other difficulties – pedigree has emerged in recent years as a key element in scouting. basketball talent assessment.

It’s no coincidence that four of the top seven CBS Sports NBA Draft Big Board players have a parent who played in the NBA, WNBA and/or was a college athlete.

  • Paolo Banchero (mother played in the WNBA; father played Division I college football)
  • Chet Holmgren (father played Division I basketball)
  • Jabari Smith (father played in the NBA)
  • Jaden Ivey (mother played WNBA; father played NFL)
  • Keegan Murray (father played Division I basketball)
  • AJ Griffin (father played in the NBA)

Prospects with an NBA mindset

“It doesn’t just mean they arrive with a more refined skill set or advanced athletic gifts – they also arrive with a deeper understanding of what it takes to be successful in the NBA and the kind of state of spirit it takes to achieve that success,” said David Mincberg, the former Memphis Grizzlies scouting director who most recently worked as assistant general manager for the Detroit Pistons.

Seven times in the past 35 years, teams have used a top-five pick on a player whose father was also drafted into the NBA. Four of those seven players became All-Stars. Of the four (Andrew Wiggins, Danny Manning, Al Horford and Kevin Love), three are still active players. Two of the other three (Mike Bibby and Mike Dunleavy Jr.) have had terrific careers. The third, Jabari Parker, enjoyed significant production early in his career before a bad string of injuries and changing expectations for NBA forwards slowed his output.

This is a small sample, but the 57.1% success rate of the top five picks becoming All-Stars if they are the sons of former draft picks, compares favorably to the All-Star rate by 39.1% for all other top five picks in the NBA Draft from 2006 to 2015. Anecdotally, however, the evidence that family ties are a positive assessment of prospects is even stronger.

“If a guy has a pedigree it’s like ‘OK, he understands how hard you have to work and he understands the level he’ll have to compete at every night and why it’s important to develop the right habits, to be a good teammate and being a coachable player,” Mincberg said. “If he’s the son of someone who’s played at a high level and has been subjected to that kind of scrutiny, he’s going to understand what it’s like the pressure of playing in the NBA, the grind, the travel, all of it.”

Griffin has sporting family ties

When it comes to the 2022 NBA Draft, no one stands out for its sporty family more than AJ Griffin. His father, Adrian Griffin, played nine NBA seasons, has coached in the league since 2008 and is currently a Raptors assistant. AJ’s brother Alan played at Syracuse, his sister Aubrey plays for the legendary UConn program and his mother Audrey ran the track at Seton Hall.

While Banchero, Smith and Ivey are considered safe bets to pick in the top half of the lottery, projections on Griffin vary more widely. He is the player with the deepest parental ties to NBA basketball, but he also grasps the limitations of his lineage to determine his future.

“You still have to work,” he said after working for the Portland Trail Blazers this month. “You still have to learn and do everything everyone else does. You benefit from wisdom and knowledge, but you also have to learn to do it for yourself.”

If Griffin slips up on injury issues or questions about his defense, front office executives passing him on may end up holding their breath lest they encounter the same nightmares experienced by front office executives passing him on. Curry when he moved up to No. 7. in the 2009 NBA draft.

“Me and everyone who’s ever worked in the NBA, when you miss a player, you kick yourself over and over again,” Mincberg said. “When you miss a player and his dad was a great player, you feel even worse about it.”

Family ties help in early assessments

The NBA Draft isn’t the only area where a sports family plays an important role in judging basketball prospects. In fact, 247Sports director of scouting Adam Finkelstein believes it’s especially important in assessing early-career high school prospects.

“It’s really counterintuitive to assess young children, because the best long-term prospects are most often those for whom it hasn’t physically clicked yet,” Finkelstein said. “I think knowing the family pedigree is even more important for young prospects.”

So while having athletic parents is poised to play a particularly important role at the top of the upcoming draft, its importance isn’t diminishing anytime soon in college or pro games.

There’s a reason Class of 2023 guard DJ Wagner has been ranked at or near the top of his class over the years. Yes, he is extremely talented and the son of former lottery pick Dajuan Wagner. But the line does not end there.

DJ’s grandfather, Milt Wagner, is a Louisville basketball legend and lifelong professional, which means DJ is on track to potentially become a third-generation NBA rookie as soon as 2024.

“Great athletes are unique and certainly rare,” Mincberg said. “But when you get to the NBA, once you’re at that threshold, it’s usually something mental or something with your state of mind why you don’t do it. The importance of having a state NBA spirit, you can’t overstate it. These guys are so impressive.”

Happy Father’s Day Draft Night

Fathers and sons who were selected in the NBA Draft.

YearSon draftedFather drafted (year)
2020Anthony ColeGreg Anthony (1991)
2020Nico MannionMannion Rhythm (1983)
2020KJ MartinKenyon Martin (2000)
2019bowl bowlManute Bol (1985)
2019Nicholas ClaxtonCharles Claxton (1994)
2018Gary Trent Jr.Gary Trent (1995)
2016Domantas SabonisArvydas Sabonis (1986)
2015Jerian GrantHarvey Grant (1988)
2015Joe YoungMichael Young (1984)
2015Larry Nance Jr.Larry Nance (1981)
2015Justise WinslowRickie Winslow (1987)
2014Andre WigginsMitchell Wiggins (1983)
2014Jabari ParkerSonny Parker (1976)
2014Jerami GrantHarvey Grant (1988)
2014Glenn Robinson IIIGlenn Robinson (1994)
2014Devyn MarbleMarble Roy (1989)
2013Tim Hardaway Jr.Tim Hardaway (1989)
2013Erik MurphyJay Murphy (1984)
2013Glen Rice Jr.Glen Rice (1989)
2012Austin RiversDoc Rivers (1983)
2012Jeffrey TaylorJeff Taylor (1982)
2011Nolan SmithDerek Smith (1982)
2011Klay ThompsonMychal Thompson (1978)
2010Xavier HenryCarl Henry (1984)
2010Andy RautinsLeo Rautins (1983)
2009AJ PriceTony Price (1979)
2009Stephen CurryDell Curry (1986)
2009austin dayeDarren Daye (1983)
2009Gerald HendersonGerald Henderson (1978)
2008Patrick Ewing Jr.Patrick Ewing (1985)
2008Kevin LoveStan Love (1971)
2007Al HorfordTito Horford (1988)
2007Bull GreenSydney Green (1983)
2006Ronnie BrewerRon Brewer (1978)
2005Sean MaiScott May (1976)
2004Jackson VromanBrett Vroman (1978)
2003Luke WaltonBill Walton (1974)
2003Brian CookNorm Cook (1976)
2002Dajuan WagnerMilt Wagner (1986)
2002Mike Dunleavy Jr.Mike Dunleavy (1976)
1998Mike BibbyHenry Bibby (1972)
1996Kobe BryantJoe Bryant (1975)
1994Jalen RoseJimmy Walker (1967)
1992byron houstonCurtis Perry (1970)
1988Danny ManningEd Manning (1967)