How Good was George Mikan's Son: Larry Mikan


Larry Mikan Autograph

Credit: Minnesota Sports Autograph Project


George Mikan was one of the earliest superstars of the NBA. Averaging 23/13/2 (points, rebounds, assists) throughout his career, Mikan was able to bring the then Minneapolis Lakers five championships! In addition, he was a 4x NBA All-Star, 3x Scoring Champion, 1x Rebounding Champion, 6x All-NBA First Team, and 1x All-Star MVP!


Unfortunately, the MVP award did not exist until 1956, when Mikan retired. Based on the Lakers' record and Mikan's stats, it would not be ludicrous to say that he would have won the award in his first three seasons. He was even selected as the Greatest Player of the First Half-Century in 1950 by the Associated Press and was nicknamed "Mr. Basketball."


It was not Chamberlain that started recording ridiculous stat-lines, but Mikan. On January 20th, 1952, against the Rochester Royals, Mikan put up 61 POINTS and 36 REBOUNDS while shooting 48.9% from the field and 81.0% from the free-throw line!


To sum it up, George Mikan was one of the NBA's first GOATs.


But what about his son, Larry Mikan? Was he just as good as his dad? I hate to break it, but Larry was nowhere near as good as George. Larry Mikan's professional basketball career was very short, and he would only play three seasons of college basketball and one season in the NBA. Despite not playing for long, he still had some highlights throughout his career!



Minnesota Golden Gophers (1967-70)

Larry Mikan joined the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the 1967-68 NCAA season as a 6'7" forward. His first season at the University of Minnesota was disappointing. In the previous season, the Golden Gophers would go 9-15 (35.7 W/L%), and in the season that Mikan joined, the Golden Gophers performed worse, going 7-17 (29.2 W/L%), tying with the Indiana Hoosiers as the worst team in the Big Ten Conference.


Mikan also did not play that well. He averaged 6.4 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 43.2% from the field and 60.9% from the free-throw line. On the other hand, his dad would put up 11.3 points while shooting 69.4% from the free-throw line. Rebounds and field-goal percentages were not calculated back then.


Thankfully, Larry Mikan would improve drastically in his sophomore season (1968-69). He averaged 18.4 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 46.8% from the field and 76.5% from the free-throw line. Mikan improved in every stat. He also led the team in points and rebounds and was third in field-goal and free-throw percentage. Mikan was the team's best player.


The Golden Gophers would also improve, going 12-12 (50.0 W/L%) and finishing sixth in the conference.


In Mikan's last season, he averaged similar numbers. He averaged 17.2 points and 14.5 rebounds while shooting 45.7% from the field and 61.4% from the free-throw line. Like his dad, Larry Mikan was good at rebounding. George Mikans' career-high in rebounds per game in the NBA was 14.4 in the 1952-53 season, so Larry beats him by 0.1 rebounds!


The Golden Gophers would again improve, going 13-11 (54.2 W/L%) and finishing fifth in the conference. Since the 1965-66 NCAA season, this was the first time that the Golden Gophers finished with a positive record.


Cleveland Cavaliers (1970-71)

After three seasons at the University of Minnesota, Larry Mikan would enter the 1970 NBA Draft and be selected as the 64th pick by the Los Angeles Lakers. However, Mikan would end up signing to the Cleveland Cavaliers.


As said previously, Mikan's time in the NBA was very short. He would only play 53 games with the Cavaliers before calling it quits. Within those 53 games, he played 10.1 minutes a game and averaged 3/3/1 while shooting 33.3% from the field and 61.8% from the free-throw line. I can excuse his 3/3/1 stat-line since he only played ten minutes a game, but shooting 33.3% from the field is embarrassing.


Even if Mikan played more minutes, according to his Per 36 numbers, he would have only averaged 11/9/3 on the same terrible efficiency.


On a more positive note, Mikan's best game was on March 9th, 1971, against the Philadelphia 76ers. In 23 minutes, he put up 14/6/4 while shooting 57.1% from the field and 85.7% from the free-throw line. Mikan had another "good" game on February 28th, 1971, against his former team, the Los Angeles Lakers, where he grabbed 18 rebounds, the same as opponent Wilt Chamberlain, but Mikan scored nine points on 23.5% field-goal shooting.


In the only season that Larry Mikan was with the Cavaliers, they went 15-67 (18.3 W/L%) and were the worst team in the NBA. Interestingly, Mikan's coach at the University of Missouri, Bill Fitch, was also his coach on the Cavaliers. You would think that Mikan would receive more minutes under his former coach, but I guess not. Mikan's first game where he played more than 20 minutes was in his 22nd game...

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