The San Antonio Spurs snagged what many believe will be the biggest lottery prizes since LeBron James on Tuesday by securing the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, which they will surely use to select an unprecedented prospect in Victor Wembanyama.
Here’s how the lottery order rocked:
|4||Houston||11||Orlando (from Chicago)|
Now that you have the order, let’s move on to the lottery winners and losers.
Twenty-six years after Spurs fell to Tim Duncan, who started a five-title dynasty, San Antonio is rising and landing Wembenyama, another potential generational player. Not much else to say. San Antonio struck gold here.
Winner: Victor Wembanyama
Wemby has found a great home in San Antonio, where he will be under an all-time coaching tutelage in Gregg Popovich and not bear the burden of immediate expectations for a franchise in transition. Spurs will put everything they have as an organization – which is a lot – into making Wemby the megastar he is seemingly destined to become. They’ve done it before with Hall of Fame greats Tim Duncan and David Robinson. Perimeter pieces are in place at Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell.
Would it have been fun to see Wembanyama paired with LaMelo Ball in Charlotte? Of course. Would Detroit have been a good game on paper with the backcourt in place in Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey? Of course. But give me the stability of Spurs not to screw up a prospect like this. In the long run, Wembanyama should feel lucky this way.
The Pistons entered as one of three teams (Houston and San Antonio) with the highest 14% chance of landing the top pick, and they didn’t even manage to stay in the top three for one game at a time. Brandon Miller or Scoot Henderson (Miller probably would have been the game with Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey in place. Pistons find themselves at No. 5 instead. Tough break.
New York would have gotten the Mavericks’ 2023 pick, as Kristpaps Porzingis’ last piece of trade, had he fallen outside the top 10. He landed 10th. Dallas keeps it. New York is now in line to get Dallas’ pick next year or in 2025, with top-10 protection on both, but Dallas expects to be a playoff team again soon. It was arguably New York’s best move to end up with another Dallas lottery pick.
This one could go either way. On the one hand, reports indicate that Portland was This close to nabbing the No. 1 pick, which I guess one could say makes him a tough loser in the Wemby draw.
That said, the Blazers entered the night with a 10.5 percent shot on first pick, fifth-best on the board, so jumping into the top three is a big win in my book. Chances are coveted point guard Scoot Henderson will be available at No. 3 with the Hornets, who already have LaMelo Ball, picking No. 2.
That’s good for Portland, who will almost certainly look to trade this pick as they continue their efforts to arm Damian Lillard with a roster in contention. With Henderson in play, that pick now has tremendous value in the trade market. It’s not the No. 1 pick, but it’s the top notch asset Portland needed.
Houston, along with Detroit and San Antonio, entered with the best chance of getting the overall No. 1 pick and fell to No. 4, skipped by Portland and Charlotte. Sure, they were hoping for Wemby, but Scoot Henderson (to finish with that Kevin Porter Jr. point guard experience) or Brandon Miller would have been big consolations. Staying in the top three would have guaranteed Houston one of those guys. No chance.
Charlotte has moved from fourth-best lottery odds to second, where she will have the choice between Scoot Henderson and Brandon Miller. It might seem like a redundant fit to pair Henderson with LaMelo Ball, but drafting that top usually means taking the best player available and figuring out the fit later. After all, who knows if Ball will even be in Charlotte beyond his rookie contract. Plenty more options here for the Hornets than they would have had outside of the top three.
In order to keep its 2023 pick, Chicago needed to place in the top four. This does not happen. The Bulls are left with the 11th pick, which now goes to the Magic as Nikola Vucevic’s latest piece of trade. And what a disaster of a trade that turned out to be for the Bulls, who have in place Wendell Carter Jr., Franz Wagner and now the 11th overall pick in 2023 for Vucevic. Yeah.
Dallas pitched while still alive for the playoffs with the sole purpose of keeping that pick, which, . as mentioned above, would have gone to New York if he had fallen outside the top 10. He landed there at 10. Dallas breathes a big sigh of relief. The tank, embarrassing as it is after trading for Kyrie Irving, had a lot to do with it.
Washington, who came into the night with less than a 7% chance of landing the first overall pick, would have increased their chances to more than 50% by the time only 11 numbers remained.
Man, that’s pretty hard. Wizards were there to stumble upon Wembanyama, and instead came out with pick #8 ho-hum, exactly where they were placed to start the night. What a buzz kill.