Where do the Warriors guards rank on the list of best father-son duos?

5/14/13 in NBA   |   droth   |   127 respect

One of the many reasons why this year's Warriors team has captured the imagination of so many basketball fans is their multi-generational appeal.  The second generation players on the Warriors, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, are leading the team on an impressive playoff run and making basketball fans that watched their dads play feel old.

May 8, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) shoots against San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (4) during the first half in game two of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY SportsMychal Thompson and his son Klay couldn't have more different games.  Mychal was a 6'10" PF/C and was one of the top rebounders in the league in the early 1980's.  He played his first seven seasons with the Trail Blazers, spent half a season with San Antonio and finished his career off with the Lakers, where he won two championships with Magic and the gang.  His son, however, is a lights out shooter with perfect form.  Klay is in his second year in the pros and shot 40% from three this season.

The Currys are much more similar in their playing styles.  Dell is an inch taller and five pounds heavier (when he played) than his son, and Steph is a much more prolific scorer, but both Currys could drain it from deep.  Dell was a career 40% three point shooter and led the league with a 47% mark from distance in 1998-99.  Steph is a career 44% three point shooter and is this year's playoff leader in assists and three point field goals made and attempted.  And there's another Curry at Duke who can shoot the lights out too.  

Curry and Thompson are the most visible basketball sons still playing, but they're far from the only ones we've seen.  There have been 51 father-son combinations in the NBA, including top picks, future hall of famers, and a whole lot of sharpshooters.  

1.  Joe and Kobe Bryant:  Joe "Jellybean" Bryant played eight seasons in the NBA for the 76ers, Clippers, and Rockets.  The 6'9" Bryant went to the NBA finals with the 76ers in 1977, where he would lose to fellow NBA dad Bill Walton and the Portland Trail Blazers.  Bryant finished his career overseas and then went on to coaching, both in the WNBA and abroad.  His son, Kobe, has had some success playing pro ball and, no disrespect to Joe, did most of the heavy lifting to get the Bryants to the top of this list.  

2.  Jimmy Walker and Jalen Rose: Walker was not a part of his son's life growing up, but he passed on plenty of talent to his son.  Walker was the first selection in the 1967 draft and played until 1976, racking up over 11,600 career points for the Pistons, Rockets, and Kings.  Walker averaged 16.7 points and 3.5 assists per game over his career.  

His son, Jalen Rose, was a member of Michigan's famed fab-5 and continued on to play for 13 years in the NBA.  Jalen was actually bigger at 6'8" than his father, who was 6'3".  Typically, we see sons that are similar size or smaller and make up for it by living and breathing hoops as kids.  But Rose, who didn't meet his father until much later in life, clearly had the size and talent to make it on his own and had an even more prolific career than his old man.  Rose was a key player for the Indiana Pacers playoff teams in the late 90's and early 00's and helped to create the modern "point forward" position.  And if you've never listened to his podcast, he's a funny and honest basketball insider who has plenty of entertaining stories about the good old days.

3.  Rick and Brent Barry:  Rick played from 1965 to 1980 and was one of the best players in the league in the late 60's and early 70's.  He averaged 30 or more points per game four different seasons and led the league in scoring in 1966-67 with 35.6 points per contest.   For his career, in both the ABA and NBA, he averaged 24.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game.  He made nine first-team All-NBA or ABA  teams, was the '65-'66 Rookie of the Year and was named Finals MVP in 1975 when he and the Warriors won the title.

Rick had three sons, Jon, Brent, and Drew, that played in the NBA.  Jon and Drew could shoot the three ball, but Brent was the best of the bunch.  Brent played 15 seasons and, like anyone with his last name, could shoot the three.  But he could also throw it down.  Barry is the only player to win the Dunk contest and lead the league in three point shooting during his career. 

4.  Bill and Luke Walton:  Bill was one of the greatest college basketball players to ever lace up a pair ofApr 6, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; UCLA and comer NBA star Bill Walton poses for a picture prior to the start of the game between Louisville Cardinals and the Wichita State Shockers in the semifinals  of the 2013 NCAA mens Final Four at the Georgia Dome.  Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports sneakers and could have been an all-time NBA great if he had had better injury luck.  When he played, he was an elite rebounder, defender, and passer.  At 6'11" he had a rare skill set for a big man and averaged over 18 ppg in the 1977 playoffs, when his Blazers won the title.  

Luke has carved out a nice career in the league, but he is nowhere near the player his father was.  That being said, this was his 10th year in the league and, although he's never put up monster numbers, he's a solid pro.  And as Marshawh Lynch famously said, "it don't get no better than solid." In the one year that Walton started every game he played in, he averaged 11 ppg and shot 38% from beyond the arc.  After spending the first eight years of his career with the Lakers, Walton has been a Cavalier for the last two.

5.  Dolph and Danny Schayes: They may not be the sharpshooters that Dell and Steph Curry are, but the Schayes may be the the most underrated father-son pair in league history.  Dolph played for 15 seasons in the 1950's and early 60's for the Syracuse Nationals before finishing his career with the 76ers.  Schayes led the league in free throw shooting three times as a power forward and averaged an impressive 18.5 points and 12 rebounds a game for his lengthy career.  Schayes and the Nationals made several trips to the NBA Finals and won in 1955.  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1973.

His son, Danny Schayes, didn't put up the same impressive numbers that his father did, but his 18-year career speaks for itself.   He played from 1981-1999, averaging 7.7 points and 5 rebounds a game over that period.  He played with several teams, but spent the majority of his career with Denver and Milwaukee.  In the late 80's Schayes was a big part of the Nuggets rotation and averaged 13.9 points and 8.2 rebounds in 1987-88, his most productive season.

At this point, it's too early to tell where the Thompsons and Currys will finish on this list when it's all said and done.  At this rate, both duos could join Rose and Walker as the only father-son tandems that have each scored 10,000 or more points, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.  Thomspon is only in his second season and it is Curry's fourth.  Both guards have a long time to move up the ranks.

So, where do you think the Thompsons and Currys will end up on this list?
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5/17/13   |   andphidom

This is a GREAT article! Really really well done. Props!

p.s. Reminisce on Steph's 272 3 pointers: