NBA Draft Lottery: Spurs get number 1 pick and right to select Wembanyama

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The San Antonio Spurs won the 2023 NBA lottery on Tuesday, earning them the No. 1 pick in the June draft and the right to select the most anticipated prospect since LeBron James: 19-year-old French star Victor Wembanyama.

The number 2 pick went to the Charlotte Hornets, third to the Portland Trail Blazers and fourth to the Houston Rockets.

Spurs chairman Peter J. Holt jumped to his feet to celebrate that it was becoming clear that the Spurs had the best choice. The raffle was held in Chicago and the picks were revealed during a broadcast on ESPN.

“I could pass out,” Holt said on the air. “I’m so excited. The city of San Antonio, our fans, man – we just have so many people who love the Spurs, so we’re excited.

A 2-yard 3 center with an 8-yard wingspan, Wembanyama can handle the ball and shoot like a guard. He plays for Metropolitans 92, a professional French league team, where he averages 21.6 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. The NBA G League hosted its team in October for a two-game exhibition near Las Vegas, and the NBA has broadcast some of its games. The hype about him rivals that surrounding James in 2003, when the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted him as No. 1 overall after high school.

The draft order is determined by a lottery that gives teams with poorer regular season records better chances for the No. 1 pick. This system has led to teams being accused of tanking – not prioritizing winning to position themselves for high draft picks. The three teams most likely — 14 percent — to make the top pick this year were the Detroit Pistons, the Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs. The 11 other teams in the lottery had smaller odds, ranging from the Charlotte Hornets at 13 percent to the New Orleans Pelicans at 0.5 percent.

In recent years, the NBA has moved to curb tanking by introducing a postseason play-in tournament and leveling off the odds of the No. 1 top three teams.

But with Wembanyama on the horizon, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told reporters in the fall, “I know a lot of our NBA teams are salivating at the idea of ​​potentially getting him through our lottery, so they all still have to be very fight hard. next season.”

Wembanyama is certainly not the only potentially changing prospect available on June 22. Scoot Henderson, a 19-year-old guard who played for the G League Ignite and faced Wembanyama in Henderson, Nevada in October, is widely expected. drafted at number 2 overall after Wembanyama. Henderson averaged 16.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists in 19 games with the Ignite this season.

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