NBA 'in shock' as San Antonio Spurs win lottery for Victor Wembanyama

The San Antonio Spurs wound up with the top pick in the 2023 NBA draft, where Victor Wembanyama is all but certain to be picked first.

Victor Wembanyama is pictured left, and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is pictured speaking to a referee on the right.

Much-hyped NBA prospect Victor Wembanyama appears destined to begin his career with the San Antonio Spurs, after they drew the No.1 overall pick at the draft lottery. Wembanyama, the French prospect who stands at 219cm tall and boasts a rare combination of sheer size, ball-handling ability and shooting skill, has been regarded as the surefire top pick for almost the entire NBA season.

The Spurs rode their luck to the top of the lottery after finishing the 2022/23 season with a 22-60 record, tied with the Houston Rockets for the second-worst record in the league. The Detroit Pistons, who finished with a league-worst 17-65 record, watched in agony as they drew the fifth pick.

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While Pistons fans were left to commiserate, Spurs fans were elated - many drawing a parallel to their lottery luck in years past. Much of the Spurs' past success was aided by previous No.1 overall picks David Robinson (1987) and Tim Duncan (1997).

Both of those two proved to be generational talents at the centre position, where Wembanyama will also line up for San Antonio. The NBA world went into meltdown after the Spurs earned the top pick, with the Charlotte Hornets picking second and the Portland Trailblazers third.

Wembanyama is the most talked-about prospect among NBA scouts and executives since LeBron James in 2003 and is the runaway favourite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft by a mile. The French native will be the biggest and most talented import from overseas ever, trumping Luka Dončić and two-time MVP Nikola Jokić.

NBA world already enamoured with Victor Wembanyama

Wembanyama already left the basketball world salivating over his potential when he faced off against fellow draft prospect Scoot Henderson. The teenager's Paris Metropolitans 92 took on Henderson's G-League Ignite in an exhibition matchup that fascinated the basketball world.

Able to show off a smooth handle and clean jumpshot from outside, Wembanyama also demonstrated how his height and incredible wingspan could alter the game defensively, racking up an astonishing nine blocks in two games. His performances and pedigree have led to him being labelled 'the singular greatest prospect in NBA draft history' by ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski.

He also earned high praise from his soon-to-be NBA peers, with the likes of MVP winners LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo impressed by the teenager. “Everybody’s been a unicorn over the last few years, but he’s more like an alien,” James said.

“No one has ever seen anyone as tall as he is but as fluid and as graceful as he is out on the floor. He’s a generational talent and hopefully he continues to stay healthy.”

Wembanyama is the most sought-after prospect since James, and fans in San Antonio have to be thrilled with addition of the 7-foot-4 French player. The talented young core of Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell and Jeremy Sochan are all 23 and younger.

Victor Wembanyama.
Victor Wembanyama is the most likely top pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images) (AFP via Getty Images)

Sochan and Wembanyama played with one another at a French camp when they were both 12 and 14 years old. The conversation for the No. 1 pick has been closed for quite some time (at least since October when Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson squared off) and Wembanyama has lived up to every expectation in his last season before hitting the NBA.

Wembanyama has scored in double digits in all but one game this season for Metropolitans 92 and continues to lead all players in the French Betclic League in points (21.6) rebounds (10.5) and blocks (3.1).

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