The Spurs have won the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes.
San Antonio claimed the No. 1 overall pick in Tuesday night’s draft lottery, putting the club in position to select Wembanyama, a 7’5″ French phenom who is widely considered the top NBA prospect since LeBron James.
The top 14 slots for the 2023 draft have officially been set. The lottery order is as follows:
- San Antonio Spurs
- Charlotte Hornets
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Houston Rockets
- Detroit Pistons
- Orlando Magic
- Indiana Pacers
- Washington Wizards
- Utah Jazz
- Dallas Mavericks
- Orlando Magic (from Bulls)
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Toronto Raptors
- New Orleans Pelicans
It’s the third time in franchise history that the Spurs have won a draft lottery and earned the right to add a generational big man to their roster. San Antonio drafted David Robinson with the No. 1 overall pick in 1987 and Tim Duncan with the top pick in 1997.
The Spurs entered the night third in the lottery standings, but had a 14.0% chance at the No. 1 pick, the same odds as Detroit and Houston, the top two teams in the lottery standings.
The Pistons are the biggest loser of the night, slipping all the way out of the top four after finishing the season with the NBA’s worst record at 17-65. It also wasn’t an ideal outcome for the Rockets, who slipped from second to fourth in a draft widely considered to have a consensus top three prospects.
The Hornets, who had a 12.5% chance at the No. 1 pick and a 48.1% chance to end up in the top four, move up two spots to No. 2 and will likely decide between G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson and Alabama wing Brandon Miller, who are viewed as the next-best prospects behind Wembanyama.
Henderson was once considered a lock for the No. 2 spot, but had an up-and-down year in the G League while Miller had a big freshman season for the Crimson Tide.
At No. 3, the Trail Blazers also moved up two spots and are the night’s other big winner — they’ll be in position to draft either Henderson or Miller, whichever one the Hornets pass on. Of course, Portland badly wants to build a roster around Damian Lillard that’s capable of contending sooner rather than later, so it’s possible the team will listen to offers for its lottery pick, but the price would presumably be extremely high.
Outside of the top five, the remaining lottery picks remain unchanged from the pre-lottery order. That means the Mavericks will keep their first-round pick, which would have been sent to the Knicks if it had slipped out of the top 10. Dallas will instead owe New York its 2024 first-rounder with top-10 protection.
The Bulls, meanwhile, would have hung onto their lottery pick if it had moved into the top four, but it will be sent to the Magic since it fell outside of its protected range. That pick was the last asset that Chicago owed to Orlando as part of the 2021 Nikola Vucevic trade.
Tuesday’s lottery results also shook up the order of the second round. Because San Antonio will be picking ahead of Houston in the first round, the Rockets’ second-round pick has moved up from No. 33 to No. 32, which means it will be sent to the Pacers instead of the Celtics.
That’s great news for the Pacers, who move up 18 spots from No. 50 as a result of that lottery outcome and a convoluted set of trade criteria involving multiple second-rounders. Rather than getting Houston’s pick, Boston will receive Portland’s second-rounder at No. 35, while the Thunder – who had been in position to get No. 35, will instead pick at No. 50.