Drafted first overall in 1987, David Robinson wouldn’t hit the NBA hardwood until 1989 due to his commitment to the United States Navy. After a much-anticipated wait, the rookie took to the court resulting in a historic season in which the San Antonio Spurs went from a league-worst 21-61 record to a 56-26 turnaround.
Nearly a decade later the Spurs were once again awarded the first overall selection. The cream of the crop of the 1997 NBA Draft class was 7’ forward/center Tim Duncan. With Robinson and many of the best Spurs players injured during the 1996-97 season, the Spurs finished 20-62. The addition of Duncan helped the Spurs once again rewrite history by improving to a 56-26 record.
Two years later, the Spurs would win their first NBA Championship.
On May 16, 2023, the Spurs were once again granted the honors of selecting first overall in the NBA Draft, and on June 23, they will undoubtedly select a player that many touted as a generational talent and one that will hopefully lead the once proud franchise back to the promised land. Should they waiver from the obvious for whatever reason, it would likely result in someone getting fired.
Check here how to bet on the NBA finals.
Who Is Victor Wembanyama?
Tagged as a franchise-changing player at the age of nineteen, 7’3” Frenchman Victor Wembanyama is expected to reverse the fortunes of the Spurs who finished this season 22-60, the second-worst record in the NBA.
Over the years, just a few players have been deemed generational talent in the NBA Draft. Names like Duncan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James all headed into their respective draft night with huge expectations. Wembanyama has been put into the same conversation.
Averaging 21.6 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per game for the Metropolitans 92 in France’s LNB Pro A league, the teen comes equipped with a skill set that is not deemed normal for a player his size.
When it comes to breaking down the 2023 NBA Draft, as with most years, there are several tiers of players. In the case of this summer’s options, there are three tiers. The first being Wembanyama. The second tier consists of G-League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson and Alabama Crimson Tide forward Brandon Miller. Some might argue that Overtime Elite forward Amen Thompson may be among the second tier of players. After that, the field for the rest of the lottery and the remainder of the first round is relatively open.
Victor Wembanyama is position-less basketball fully realized 🤯 pic.twitter.com/PFoN3ZtFWH
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) June 6, 2023
How Will He Fit Spurs Team?
Currently, the Spurs have Devin Vassll and Keldon Johnson locked into the shooting guard and small forward positions respectively, while Tre Jones appears to be the favorite to return as the starting point guard. With the backcourt and wings secure, the frontcourt seems to be subject to change with only soon-to-be sophomore Jeremy Sochan as a viable option.
While Coach Popovich hasn’t been one who is in favor of playing young players major minutes, it looks like the Spurs will open with a frontcourt of Sochan and Wembanyama to begin the season barring any free-agent signings in the offseason. However, don’t be too surprised to see Wembanyama spend some time in the backcourt or on the wing to take advantage of his size and skill set.
With LaMelo Ball already locked in as their starting point guard, it seems as though the best selection for the Charlotte Hornets would be to go with Miller as the second overall pick. While they have Gordon Hayward at the small forward spot, the veteran is often injured and doesn’t fit in with the Hornets’ youth movement.
This would drop Henderson to the third pick, belonging to the third pick, which currently belongs to the Portland Trail Blazers, home of All-Star, All-NBA point guard Damian Lillard. The Blazers, who are in much need of a rebuild can either trade the third pick for a veteran who can help Lillard and the team now, or trade the sharpshooting veteran and rebuild their core around Henderson, off-guard Anfernee Simons, and second-year stud Shaedon Sharpe.
Henderson, Miller, and Thompson all have the potential to become All-Stars one day, but for Wembanyama, it appears that All-Star is the bare minimum of what people envision him to be.
Victor Wembanyama got UP to block this dunk with two hands 🤯 pic.twitter.com/vb039KIFXh
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 4, 2023
So, what should the Spurs and their fans expect from the wunderkind?
With his ability to handle the ball, shoot with range and attack the rim, the Spurs’ offense should see instant improvement. On the defensive end, with his eight-foot wingspan and ability to move his feet, Wembanyama will provide the team with a unique rim protector who can get out on the perimeter when needed.
However, Wembanyama’s presence won’t just be felt with his immense basketball skills as his addition to the team will not only be felt on the court, but also off of it. It’s been a while since San Antonio has had a nationally televised game, and with the addition of the super-rook, TNT and ESPN will certainly be featuring a number of Spurs games on their schedule. Free agent’s to be will now also be more willing to consider San Antonio as a signing destination, something that isn’t exactly normal for the Spurs organization.
With all that he has to offer, why wouldn’t Victor Wembanyama be the first name called by Adam Silver at the 77th edition of the NBA Draft?
"It's unguardable."#NBADraft prospect Victor Wembanyama with the smooth turnaround J and sky-high release point.
— NBA (@NBA) June 2, 2023