Victor Wembanyama, Insanely Hyped NBA Prospect, Heads To The San Antonio Spurs
— 17 May 2023

Victor Wembanyama, Insanely Hyped NBA Prospect, Heads To The San Antonio Spurs

— 17 May 2023

Nearly 10 years after the San Antonio Spurs won their final championship of the Tim Duncan era, they’ve found the man that’ll write the next chapter of their story: Victor Wembanyama — a 7’5″ 19-year-old from France that’s said to be one of the greatest NBA prospects of his generation.

If that opening sentence wasn’t impressive enough for you, it’s worth noting he’s also got an 8-foot wingspan, the ability to create off the dribble, and the ability to hit step-back threes. History has not been kind to NBA players that are his height in terms of injury, but he’s the sort of prospect that you’ll take the gamble on 10 times out of 10. The upside of Victor Wembanyama’s potential for the Spurs is second to nothing.

For this reason, there was a lot of discussion about which team would end up with the coveted first-overall pick. Wemby had so much hype that teams were losing games, seemingly on purpose, to marginally increase their chance of securing him in the draft. The Spurs had a 14% chance of landing the number one pick, tied with the Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons. The Hornets were then given a 12% chance and Blazers a 10.5%.

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This was the full order of the 2023 draft lottery:

  1. San Antonio Spurs
  2. Charlotte Hornets
  3. Portland Trail Blazers
  4. Houston Rockets
  5. Detroit Pistons
  6. Orlando Magic
  7. Indiana Pacers
  8. Washington Wizards
  9. Utah Jazz
  10. Dallas Mavericks
  11. Orlando Magic
  12. Oklahoma City Thunder
  13. Toronto Raptors
  14. New Orleans Pelicans

The 2023 NBA draft is also set to include elite prospects like Alabama’s Brandon Miller and G League Ignite’s Scoot Henderson, which would likely go number one in a Victor-less year. They might even be better equipped for the NBA at this stage, but the ceiling of Wemby is simply too good to turn down.

The San Antonio Spurs essentially confirmed the draft pick will go towards the selection of Victor Wembanyama as expected. The team’s general manager Brian Wright could not contain his excitement as he called it “an incredible day” for the franchise and the fans.

“People talk about generational talents and you only think on-court skill, but it’s bigger than that,” he said.

“Peter talked about his ability to be a great teammate, his ability to think the game, unique challenges. You see him doing things that you wouldn’t have even guessed someone could do — his approach, his professionalism.”

“I think when you use the word ‘generational’ talent, it extends beyond just your ability to put the ball in the basket. And he’s unique in so many ways.”

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The other first-overall picks in San Antonio Spurs history have been two Hall of Fame big men: Tim Duncan being selected in 1997 and David Robinson and 1987. Wembanyama also follows in the footsteps of a French basketball legend in Tony Parker, who was a part of four NBA Championships with the Spurs from 2003 to 2014. With his massive size 20.5 feet, Wemby may be the only one who could fill this enormous set of shoes.

This is a near-perfect situation for Wembanyama to have ended up in. Gregg Popovic and R.C. Buford have a great track record when it comes to developing international prospects and lottery picks. The Spurs are looking for a true franchise player that they can give the keys to on offence and defence, and turn them into perennial playoff contenders for years to come.

There’s not a whole lot of media scrutiny that comes with playing within the San Antonio market, so Victor Wembanyama will have years to make mistakes as he improves on his game.

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