Gregg Popovich, the coach of the San Antonio Spurs, famously claimed that the team had already experienced all the good fortune it could hope for. The two years prior that the Spurs had the top overall pick in the draft, they each left with a player who would go on to become a Hall of Famer.
The 2023 NBA Draft lottery was won by the Spurs on Tuesday night 16 March, giving them the opportunity to select French super-prospect Victor Wembanyama as the first overall choice.
At Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center, Spurs owner Peter J. Holt declared, “It’s going to be unbelievable.” Our future was already promising, but from now on it will be seen through the moon.
For the third time in the history of the team, San Antonio has the first overall pick in the draft. The previous two times, the team chose Tim Duncan in 1997 and David Robinson in 1987.
The Spurs won a selection that might change their franchise, as did the Detroit Pistons and Houston Rockets, who were matched for the night’s highest lottery chances at 14%.
Tuesday night, Holt got a clear view of the envelopes being opened from his vantage point on stage. When the Charlotte Hornets were announced as the No. 2 choice, Holt was already banging the podium in front of him and shouting in jubilation.
The Orlando Magic did not make Paolo Banchero, last year’s top pick, their undisputed first choice until just hours before the draft in June. For months, it has been assumed that Wembanyama will be the winner.
You see him doing things that you wouldn’t even have believed someone could do because of his ability to be a great teammate, his ability to think the game through, and his unique obstacles. His manner and professionalism.
BIENVENUE A SAN ANTONIO VICTOR WEMBANYAMA pic.twitter.com/demSoxfTfn
— Tom Petrini (@RealTomPetrini) May 17, 2023
Wembanyama is almost certainly going to a team that has a history of producing outstanding French athletes. With the Spurs, Tony Parker won four championships and was named Finals MVP in 2007, and Boris Diaw was a member of the 2014 champs.
Wembanyama will also have the chance to train under Popovich, who in March 2022 established the record for most regular-season victories in a coaching career. When Wembanyama was born on January 4, 2004, Popovich, who turns 75 in January, had already coached 557 games, had won two NBA titles, and was one year away from capturing his third.
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Coaches are instructors, and our team has the good fortune to have one of the best teachers in history, regardless of the sport, according to Wright. Every single day, he teaches us all something new. That is a fantastic chance for all of our guys. They don’t take it for granted, I know that.
At the Barclays Center in New York, the draft will take place on June 22.
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