San Antonio Spurs Victorious in Victor Wembanyama Sweepstakes
The NBA held its Draft Lottery on Tuesday night, and the San Antonio Spurs, tied for the best odds at 14%, drew the No. 1 pick in June’s amateur draft.
The Spurs were the big winner of the night, and they now have the right to select French superstar Victor Wembanyama with the first overall pick. The big loser of the night was the Detroit Pistons, who were tied with the Spurs and Houston Rockets for the best odds to get No. 1, but instead will be picking fifth.
The Rockets fell to fourth place in the draft order, while the Charlotte Hornets moved up and got the second pick, with the Portland Trail Blazers winning the third pick.
“It’s going to be unbelievable,” said Spurs owner Peter J. Holt. “Our future was already bright, now it’s going to be through the moon.”
This is the third time in franchise history that San Antonio has the No. 1 overall pick, and it’s worked out quite well for them the previous two times. In 1987, they drafted David Robinson, and he became a two-time NBA champion, the NBA MVP in 1995, and he was named to the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary all-time teams.
In 1997, they drafted Tim Duncan, and he became a five-time NBA champion, the NBA MVP in 2002 and 2003, and he is also a member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary all-time team. Robinson (50) and Duncan (21) have had their numbers retired by the Spurs.
The NBA’s Next Global Star
Wembanyama stands 7-foot-5, and he can easily fill the big shoes of Robinson and Duncan. He also fills those shoes metaphorically as the most anticipated NBA prospect since LeBron James was selected first overall in 2003 by his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.
In San Antonio, Wembayama will be far from his hometown of Le Chesnay, France. But his expected stardom will only build on the international brand of the NBA. In 2019 and 2020, Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo was the NBA MVP. In 2021 and 2022, the MVP was Serbian star Nikola Jokic. This year’s winner is Joel Embiid of Cameroon. Embiid also has French citizenship, and just recently added U.S. citizenship.
The 2022-2023 NBA regular season began with 120 international players from 40 countries. In 2022, the first overall pick was Paolo Banchero of Italy, selected by the Orlando Magic. In 2018, the first overall pick was Deandre Ayton of the Bahamas. In 2023 it will be Victor Wembanyama of France.
“People talk about generational talent, and they only think on-court skill, but it’s bigger than that,” said Spurs general manager Brian Wright. “[Wembanyama’s] ability to be a great teammate, his ability to think the game, unique challenges, you see him doing things that you wouldn’t have guessed someone could do.
“When you use the word generational talent, it extends beyond your ability to put the ball in the basket. And he’s unique in so many ways.”
Draft Lottery Results
When the NBA holds its draft on June 22, these will be the first 14 picks, as determined by Tuesday night’s 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
BetUS.com has No. 1 overall pick odds on Victor Wembanyama at -15000. The No. 2 overall pick favorite is Scoot Henderson at -220.