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2022 NBA Draft: A.J. Griffin, Jabari Smith, latest prospects, advantage of being the son of a former professional player

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

Each of the four players are second-generation pros and examples of a trend that will be on full display at the next major NBA 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 first pick in the 2022 NBA draft, it’s almost a guarantee that he’ll name a player with a high-profile family. basketball history.

While there are no guarantees in basketball scouting—even prospects with a great family heritage get injured or face other hardships—in recent years, bloodline has become a key component in assessing basketball talent.

It’s no coincidence that four of the top seven players on the big CBS Sports NBA draft board have parents who played in the NBA, WNBA, and/or were college athletes.

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

Outlook with an NBA mindset

“It doesn’t just mean they come with a more polished skill set or advanced athletic ability – they also come with a deeper understanding of what it takes to be successful in the NBA and the kind of mindset it takes to be successful,” he said. David Minkberg, former director of scouting for the Memphis Grizzlies, who most recently served as assistant general manager for the Detroit Pistons.

Seven times in the past 35 years, teams have used the top five draft picks for 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. Two of the other three (Mike Bibby and Mike Dunleavy Jr.) went on to exhilarating careers. A third, Jabari Parker, had significant results early in his career before a poor injury streak and rising expectations from NBA power forwards slowed his performance.

That’s a small sample size, but the 57.1% of All-Star top-five finishes if they are the sons of former draft picks compare favorably to the 39.1% of all other top-five picks. NBA Draft from 2006 to 2015. However, surprisingly, the evidence for family ties as a positive factor in prospect evaluation is even stronger.

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

Griffin has athletic family ties

As for the 2022 NBA draft, no one stands out for its athletic family more than AJ Griffin. His father, Adrian Griffin, spent nine seasons in the NBA, has coached the league since 2008 and is currently an assistant with the Raptors. AJ’s brother Alan played in Syracuse, his sister Aubrey plays in the legendary UC Connecticut program, and his mother Audrey ran the track at Seton Hall.

While Banchero, Smith, and Ivey are considered to be the surest bets to be picked in the top half of the lottery, Griffin’s predictions vary more widely. He is the player with the deepest parental ties to NBA basketball, but he also understands the limitations of his background in determining his future.

“You still have work to do” he said after training for the Portland Trail Blazers this month. “You still have to study and do everything else that everyone does. You get the benefit of wisdom and knowledge, but you still need to learn how to do it yourself.”

If Griffin stumbles over injury concerns or questions about his protection, front office executives who walk away from him can hold their breath to avoid facing the same nightmares experienced by front office executives who walked away from Curry. when he dropped to No. 7 in the 2009 NBA draft.

“I, like every person who has ever worked in the NBA, when you pass a player, you kick yourself again and again,” Minkberg said. “When you miss a player and his father was a great player, you feel even worse.”

Family ties help in early assessment

The NBA Draft isn’t the only area in which the athletic family plays an important role in assessing basketball prospects. In fact, 247Sports scouting director Adam Finkelstein thinks this is especially important when evaluating potential high school students.

“It’s really counterintuitive to evaluate 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’s pedigree is even more important for younger prospects.”

So while having athletic parents could play a particularly important role at the top of the upcoming draft, its importance won’t diminish anytime soon in college or professional games.

There’s a reason Class of 2023 security guard DJ Wagner has been ranked at or near the top of his class for many years. Yes, he is supremely talented and is the son of former lottery player Dajuan Wagner. But the pedigree doesn’t stop there.

DJ’s grandfather, Milt Wagner, is a Louisville basketball legend and longtime professional, meaning DJ is on track to become a third-generation NBA inductee as early as 2024.

“Great athletes are unique and certainly rare,” Minkberg said. “But when you get into the NBA, once you hit that threshold, it’s usually something mental or something with your mindset why you don’t. The importance of the NBA mindset cannot be overstated. These guys are so impressive.”

Happy Father’s Day Draft Night

Fathers and sons selected in the NBA draft.

Year Called son Called Father (year)
2020 Cole Anthony Greg Anthony (1991)
2020 Nico Mannion Pace Mannion (1983)
2020 K.J. Martin Kenyon Martin (2000)
2019 Bol Bol Manute Bol (1985)
2019 Nicholas Claxton Charles Claxton (1994)
2018 Gary Trent Jr. Gary Trent (1995)
2016 Domantas Sabonis Arvydas Sabonis (1986)
2015 Jerian Grant Harvey Grant (1988)
2015 Joe Young Michael Young (1984)
2015 Larry Nancy Jr. Larry Nance (1981)
2015 Justice Winslow Ricky Winslow (1987)
2014 Andrew Wiggins Mitchell Wiggins (1983)
2014 Jabari Parker Sonny Parker (1976)
2014 Jerami Grant Harvey Grant (1988)
2014 Glenn Robinson III Glenn Robinson (1994)
2014 Devin Marble Roy Marble (1989)
2013 Tim Hardaway Jr. Tim Hardaway (1989)
2013 Eric Murphy Jay Murphy (1984)
2013 Glen Rice Jr. Glen Rice (1989)
2012 Austin Rivers Doc Rivers (1983)
2012 Geoffrey Taylor Jeff Taylor (1982)
2011 Nolan Smith Derek Smith (1982)
2011 Clay Thompson Michael Thompson (1978)
2010 Xavier Henry Carl Henry (1984)
2010 Andy Rotins Leo Rotins (1983)
2009 AJ Price Tony Price (1979)
2009 Stephen Curry Dell Curry (1986)
2009 Austin Day Darren Day (1983)
2009 Gerald Henderson Gerald Henderson (1978)
2008 Patrick Ewing Jr. Patrick Ewing (1985)
2008 Kevin Love Stan Love (1971)
2007 Al Horford Tito Horford (1988)
2007 Taurus green Sydney Green (1983)
2006 Ronnie Brewer Ron Brewer (1978)
2005 Sean May Scott May (1976)
2004 Jackson Vroman Brett Vroman (1978)
2003 Luke Walton Bill Walton (1974)
2003 Brian Cook Norm Cook (1976)
2002 Dajuan Wagner Milt Wagner (1986)
2002 Mike Dunleavy Jr. Mike Dunleavy (1976)
1998 Mike Bibby Henry Bibby (1972)
1996 Kobe Bryant Joe Bryant (1975)
1994 Jalen Rose Jimmy Walker (1967)
1992 Byron Houston Curtis Perry (1970)
1988 Danny Manning Ed Manning (1967)

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