It’s always fun to watch sibling rivalries play out on the NBA hardwood, but sometimes it’s even more fun when two brothers land on the same team.
Allow us to provide you with some of our finest examples.
Tyler and Ben Hansbrough (Indiana Pacers)
The Hansbrough brothers’ time together was short but sweet, with Ben joining Tyler’s Pacers during the 2012-13 season and playing 7.1 minutes per game across 28 games.
The most memorable moment of this fraternal pairing was the night Psycho T got ready to destroy the fool who messed with his brother.
That fool’s name, by the way, was Tristan Thompson.[embedded content]
Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
Thanasis Antetokounmpo averaged little more than 4 points per game in 12 minutes with Panathinaikos in Euroleague play last season, so it’s fair to say the 27-year-old is a fair way off NBA quality and that the Bucks signed him with an eye on keeping Giannis happy ahead of his looming free agency decision in 2021.
It’s a bold strategy, Cotton… right up there with Toronto restaurants offering Kawhi Leonard free food for life when they too were faced with losing their franchise player.
Regardless of what Milwaukee’s intentions may have been when they signed Thanasis and made this thing a family business, he has already provided us with one very memorable moment despite limited court time, throwing down a vicious poster dunk to open his Bucks scoring account during the preseason.[embedded content]
Now all we need is both Lopez brothers and Antetokounmpo brothers all on the court at the same time, something which is presumably Mike Budenholzer’s top priorities this season.
JR and Chris Smith (New York Knicks)
OK, so there should probably be an asterisk next to this one because Chris Smith barely played alongside his brother JR, logging just 1:57 of game time with the Knicks.
The signing of Smith was clearly questionable, a move believed to be an attempt to appease his older brother (only the Knicks would go out of their way to appease JR Smith).
It’s hard to overstate how out of his depth the younger Smith brother was.
Former Sports Illustrated writer Rob Mahoney once described him as “an NBA player in only the most superficial sense possible”, “definitively the worst player in the league”, and said he was “so far removed from the NBA’s demarcation line that even his inclusion on New York’s Summer League team was quite obviously awry.”
To make matters worse, the Knicks’ bloated payroll and nightmare luxury tax situation meant they had to pay $2.1 million for Smith’s services, rather than the $491,000 his minimum contract dictated.
That’s a lot of money to pay a dude who spent all his time in the G-League and was subsequently cut three months later anyway.
That meant they hadn’t even appeased JR after all that anyway, with Smith publishing this moody Instagram caption:
“You know the sad thing about betrayal? It never comes from an enemy.”
His brother issued an Instagram statement of his own:
“Haven’t seen the last of me … Know [that].”
As it turned out, we had.
Marcus and Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns)
In 2014, Marcus and Markieff Morris signed the NBA’s first-ever joint contract, inking a combined $52 million deal with the Suns at a discount on the understanding that they would be allowed to remain on the same team long-term.
Marcus was traded to Detroit six months later, which infuriated both brothers and led to Markieff demanding a trade and getting shipped off to Washington.
While having both Morris twins on the same team was fun, their most entertaining moment came during the 2017 playoffs when everyone started speculating that they’d switched places.
That was after Markieff suffered a nasty looking ankle injury during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, only to return the following game looking perfectly healthy and in his best form of the postseason.
Fuelling the speculation was Marcus’s Pistons already being eliminated and the twins had admitted to previously switching places in an AAU game.
Goran and Zoran Dragic (Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat)
One late-September day in 2014, the Suns decided one Dragic wasn’t nearly enough and signed his brother, Zoran, to a two-year deal.
At one point during Zoran’s brief six-game stay in Phoenix, he and brother Goran hit the floor with Marcus and Markieff Morris, the first and only time two sets of brothers have hit the floor together (although this year’s Bucks could do the same thing with the Antetokounmpo and Lopez brothers).
Goran and Zoran were later traded to Miami in a three-team deal that sent the ghost of Danny Granger, John Salmons and two first-round picks to Phoenix, with a package including Norris Cole heading to New Orleans.
After playing 10 games for the Heat, Zoran was traded to the Celtics for a 2019 second-round pick and was waived soon after.
Dominique and Gerald Wilkins (Orlando Magic)
Gerald Wilkins’s name doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as his brother’s, does it?
He may not have been as glamorous as Dominique but the man could still play, averaging 13 points per game across his 13-year career and starting all 82 games for the Knicks team which took Michael Jordan’s Bulls to seven games in the 1992 playoffs.
It wasn’t until the final year of Gerald and Dominique’s careers that they teamed up in Orlando, playing just three and 25 games respectively.
It clearly wasn’t the same as if they’d teamed up in their primes, but it was still a cool story while it lasted.