On May 16, 2023 around 8:30 PM EST, we will find out where Victor Wembanyama, the best prospect in a generation, will spend at least the first few seasons of his career if not all of it.
At Swish Theory we don’t like to be limited by the actual, as studying the potential is a way to a deeper understanding of the game, as well.
We asked Swish Theory contributors to represent the nine teams with best chance (all 4.5%+) to land the French 19-year-old and make the case that they are the team who deserves him, not just due to lottery odds but due to team infrastructure and Victor’s own interests.
Swish Admin and Editorial Teams then decided who answered best for each of the four questions. And finally, as there are many more prizes than Vic for a rebuilding team in this draft, who each team’s favorite fit among top draft prospects who are not named Wembanyama.
Who do you think made the best case?
What’s your team’s plan for fitting Victor Wembanyama into your basketball roster on day one?
Detroit (Josh A.):
The Detroit Pistons currently have one of the strongest young cores in all of basketball with Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, and Jalen Duren. Adding Victor Wembanyama to this core would likely make it the strongest in the NBA, as the overall blend of skill sets would have the opportunity to create an elite big four assuming all goes right for the team. Acquiring Wembanyama to be one of two defensive anchors alongside Duren, along with being the top scoring option on offense, sets the team up very well for the future. All four pieces of this hypothetical big four mesh very well together, which is why I believe that this core would contend for championships in the mid to late 2020s if they all stay together.
Wembanyama will step into the NBA with the largest catch radius in the sport, which makes him a direct complement to Cade Cunningham’s passing skill set. Cunningham loves throwing lob passes to his centers, which is why he had so much success with Marvin Bagley at the end of his rookie season. Giving Cunningham the player with the largest lob catch radius in the league would create an unstoppable alley-oop combination, which would be a constant and stable part of the team’s offense. This would likely lead to teams providings lots of weak side help on Wembanyama’s rolls to the basket, where Cunningham can spray skip passes to Bojan Bogdanovic and Jaden Ivey in the weakside corner and wing. These two would be able to strongly exploit these 2v1 situations, making Detroit one of the more potent offenses in the NBA from the jump.
Victor also pairs very well with Jalen Duren on defense, as the two bigs can run versatile coverages together. One can serve as the primary PNR defender while the other roams around near the basket, and I foresee Victor being the roamer in their early years together. Wembanyama frequently over-fixates on the ball-handler in pick and roll situations, which leads to open roll men more often than you would like. He is able to get away with this now due to his insane combination of length and fluidity, though this is a long term issue that Wembanyama will likely be able to fix. Once he perfects his positioning, Duren and Wembanyama can run many valuable pick and roll coverages, which would bring even more unpredictability to the team’s defense. The rim protection with the two monster shot blockers would be something to behold, and they would likely anchor elite defenses in the future due to the overall value of rim protection and scheme versatility.
While we are young in Houston, we are in a pivotal time in the franchise. With the hiring of Ime Udoka, as well as having upwards of $45m in cap space, there are multiple routes to success we can have this offseason, with the addition of our new superstar draft pick. The goal is to get past our youth, and build a team sustainable for success, that also amplifies the strengths of our players.
Being able to slot Victor into our starting lineup allows for some incredible versatility. Having a big-to-big game between Victor and Alperen Sengun, arguably one of the best young centers in the league, opens up plenty for guards like Jalen Green to create on the perimeter and pressure the paint. Playing Victor at the 4, we can have him attack with Alperen playing the high post, and defensively, Victor covers the aerial space that Sengun struggles to protect. Having shooting wings like Jabari Smith, or fastbreak threats like KJ Martin and Tari Eason, Victor can play in a versatile, quick, and dynamic offense that spaces the floor and attacks open spaces. The growth of Jalen Green, Jabari Smith and Alperen Sengun will only help Victor, as they’ll be able to create space for him, and help him be effective on the offensive end without expending too much energy, as his defense, along with the presence of Smith and Eason, will be the anchor for our team.
What is up in the air at the moment is how to consolidate, and who to target in free agency. With the addition of Victor, many free agents may see Houston, with a new culture, budding superstars, and a coach that gets the most out of his players, as a premier landing spot. With contracts like Kevin Porter Jr and Jae’Sean Tate’s, as well as a healthy amount of draft picks, we can make a trade to bring in another premier piece that amplifies Victor. Being able to get the most out of Victor on the court, while lessening his load to maintain his conditioning is our goal, and we have the pieces and flexibility to make it happen in Houston.
In the case of San Antonio, there should be very little “fitting in” required. The organization is incredibly familiar with ingratiating future Hall of Fame big men into their roster and creating a plan for steady, healthy development. As reported by LJ Ellis of SpursTalk, the team has already begun preparing for the possibility of winning the lottery (https://www.spurstalk.com/spurs-preparing-for-victor-wembanyama/).
The on-court plan begins with playing Victor strictly at the four to begin his career. There is no value in rushing minutes at the five before he is physically and mentally ready to helm that task. The presence of Zach Collins, Charles Bassey and Sandro Mamukelashvili provide three distinct styles of front court partners who can take on more physical assignments.
The perimeter talent on the team in Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, Jeremy Sochan, Malaki Branham and Tre Jones are all incredibly complementary with essentially no avenue towards taking touches away from Victor. With over $30mm in cap room this off-season, there will be ample opportunity to add veteran guard play and wing defenders.
This team is flush with scalable, youthful talent, cap space, and the greatest coach in the history of the sport. If you are thinking purely about basketball context, San Antonio is a better fit than meets the eye. There is competent, complementary talent at each position but are lacking a star at the center of their universe. If you want to hit the ground running, while still being the undisputed #1 scoring option, San Antonio is the place to be.
We have one of the most promising passers in the league in LaMelo Ball which makes your life a lot easier on that end. There isn’t anyone in the league who is matching your catch-radius, and LaMelo will really take advantage of this. You could become the most electrifying duo in the league pretty quickly. It’s more fitting the roster around Victor, not the other way around, and we have both major financial flexibility to act on the free agent market and a young core to complement him. Other than that, we have a variety of frontcourt options to put next to you in PJ Washington, Mark Williams, Kai Jones, or JT Thor to complement your skillset as best as possible on both ends.
You can look at our current mismatch of talent as inconsistent, but I’d say it has Wemby-sized needs, with a versatile big defender and shotmaker as giving us just enough scheme flexibility to let Lamelo be Lamelo, with bit players all around in support. Just imagine a Lamelo/Victor pick and roll – what else do you need? Such an action would be unstoppable year 1, especially given Victor’s increased physicality in the interior. Lamelo can pinpoint Wembanyama’s unreal catch radius at creatively timed moments, and Vic can learn how to find Lamelo in his spots as well.
Offensively, we don’t see the need to start things slowly. We want to win and Victor’s already proven that he can be the initiator in a high-level offense at Mets 92. Hit the ground running, inverted PnRs with our electric guards (including, Damian f****** Lillard), inducing mismatches on the weak side to initiate a big-big two-man game on the inside. Vic would enhance Jusuf Nurkic’s strengths as a passer and post player while mitigating some of his weaknesses defensively.
Off the ball, Lillard and Simons demand so much attention that running simple concepts will create a lot of space for Wemby to operate. And Vic’s already demonstrated comfort with more complex ball screen actions in France, so even if the decision-making off the short roll needs improvement, the floor for success is already established in Portland. For as much as other lottery teams have players that can be good in the future, not one of the other teams has the players with the same kind of gravity that ours do.
And on the defensive end, we might have even more fun than on offense. Chauncey is one of the most creative defensive head coaches in the NBA, all he needs is the personnel to apply his concepts. Though the offensive stuff goes viral, it’s the defense that would make things click here in Portland. We see him as a 4 early in his career next to Nurk. The weak side big, swooping in to erase shots and deter would be drivers, roving around and letting his length and instincts take over.
Defining a role to unleash what Victor Wembanyama does best now with the freedom to develop weaknesses into strengths long-term is the primary goal. Asking Victor to impact the game immediately in three ways: Instinctual help-side rim-protection; Unreachable rim-rolling lob threat; Unblockable relocating deep range shooter. Generating clean catch-and-shoot threes is an easy offensive target to hit for such a skilled shooter with as versatile a shot profile as Wembanyama in year one. From standstill to motion threes, Victor has flashed shooting skill in every situation; the team that drafts him should test the limits of his incredible shooting ability. Pick-and-pops, Spain/Ram P&R, Stagger and Elevator Screens are sets that involve Wembanyama as the movement shooter in the action to force the defense into an impossible choice, effective counter options to the traditional pick-and-rolls and handoff sets where Victor rolls to the rim with higher vertical reach on lob threats than anyone else has ever imagined. In post-ups, the footwork, soft touch, and tough shot-making skills are already worth exploring against mismatches and sharpening the sword until every opponent becomes a mismatch.
Victor Wembanyama enters the league as one of most impactful rim-protectors and tough shot-makers the sport of basketball has ever seen. Due to his rare combination of handles, touch, and instinctual feel for the game at his height, Wembanyama’s floor is a league-ready floor-stretching rim-protector. Combining these innate traits to further develop all-around ball skills gives him one of the highest ranges of realistic potential developmental paths any prospect can hope for as an unguardable versatile on-ball scoring engine; a rim-sealing paint-protecting defensive anchor; a one-man wrecking crew on both ends. With Victor’s tough shot-making, deep shooting range, and natural rim-protection instincts being a safe bet to translate to every level of basketball, Rookie Wembanyama’s impact could range anywhere between a long-range sniper defensive anchor like Jaren Jackson Jr. to a tall shot-blocking tough shot-maker in the realm of Rookie Durant, only Victor stands five inches taller than both.
Bending defenses by attacking the paint is the best way to create open looks from deep. Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, and Markelle Fultz naturally create C&S 3pt opportunities by each averaging 10+ drives per game, making Orlando one of only four teams to feature three players who drive to the rack that often. Among many reasons to draft Vic, adding Wembanyama’s floor-stretching gravity to the frontcourt perfectly balances any spacing clunkyness in the starting lineup; one couldn’t dream up a better stretch-big threat for kickouts off Paolo faceups, Franz Chicago handoffs, and Fultz P&R snake-dribble drives than Wemby’s unoverthrowable shooting pocket. Life on the court can’t get much easier for Victor Wembanyama than playing off the vision, feel, and playmaking of Paolo, Fultz, Franz, and Cole Anthony, with a strong versatile defense already in place between Wendell Carter Jr., Jalen Suggs, Gary Harris, and Jonathan Isaac, maybe the most exciting young roster in the league ready to compete for the foreseeable future.
Looking around at the teams in position to secure Wemby, you see a lot of unserious rosters and ownership groups. The top four are a mix of bad rosters, owners unwilling to spend, and terrible vibes. The Pacers aren’t historical big spenders, but have a roster that is one elite piece away from making the playoffs.
A 35-win team adding the best prospect in two decades works well for both sides. Myles Turner could provide some nice frontcourt synergy with Wembanyama, with spacing on the offensive side to allow Vic to work freely inside the arc while providing elite rim protection to lessen the overall defensive load. We’ve seen how huge Jarrett Allen has been for Evan Mobley’s development, allowing him to move between both frontcourt spots instead of playing heavy minutes at the 5.
There is also elite young guard creation present. I don’t have to tell you that a Haliburton-Wembanyama two-man game would be special to watch, but they also have Bennedict Mathurin on the rise as a prolific young wing scorer. The need for Vic to be an instant offensive impact is much lessened by the conditions of the roster. Little of the rotation next year is set in stone, but I can imagine free agents will overlook the franchise location and team pedigree for a chance to play with Tyrese Haliburton and Wemby. Overall, I think the Pacers present the best chance for Wembanyama to play winning basketball before his rookie contract is up, while not taking away from his potential development as an all-around dynamo.
Wes Unseld’s creativity as a play designer makes Washington one of the more intriguing fits for Wemby, even though I’d imagine many don’t want to see him there. The variety of chin and delay sets Unseld has deployed make Wemby an intriguing schematic fit. Him and Porzingis can both space the floor. There may be some small concerns they get in eachothers’ way, but I actually think Porzingis’ general unwillingness to go inside the arc could be very good for Wemby’s development. He’s going to get the majority of reps attacking inside if he lands in Washington.
Defensively, the fit is absolutely incredible. Porzingis and him could dominate with sheer size and instincts on the interior which makes things easier on the guards and wings on the roster. You could be highly experimental with coverages and this is something Unseld has shown a willingness to do. When you mesh Daniel Gafford into this big man rotation too, it’s just an incredibly effective trio on that end with size and high percentage shot types.
With the style in which Will Hardy coached his first season in Utah, there’s no doubt that Victor Wembanyama would be a near perfect fit on the Jazz. Hardy frequently used lineups with multiple skilled bigs on the floor at once, and was able to get the most out of them. Lauri Markkanen won the Most Improved Player award. Kelly Olynyk set a career high in assists while nearly doing the same in points. Heck, even Luka Samanic, a 6’10 former first round pick who had been in and out of the NBA, had the best stretch of his career playing for Utah at the end of the season. When you look at the success of these 3 players at various talent levels, you can only dream about what the 7’4 ultra-skilled Wemby would look like under Will Hardy.
Playing next to a more traditional Center like Walker Kessler early on would also be a benefit for Victor. As Vic matures and puts on more muscle there will be plenty opportunity for him to play the 5 more down the line, but early on in his career saving him from having to take on matchups against physical bigs like Nikola Jokic or Steven Adams will make his transition to the NBA a lot easier and potentially help him stay on the floor more.
Question Winner: Detroit Pistons
Honorable mention: San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets
How do you plan to evolve Victor’s game over the long-term on your squad? How much will you develop as an on-ball offensive shotmaker/creator vs. his off-ball skills? What’s your ideal use for him on defense?
When you combine Wembanyama’s generational size and length with his touch and feel for the game, you begin to realize that Wembanyama is capable of things that nobody else on the court is capable of. In order to properly develop him, I would make sure to mix in the on-ball and off-ball reps while getting him involved in many pick and rolls. Familiarizing Wembanyama with the spacing and court dynamics of NBA high post plays will be valuable for his overall development curve, as he should be able to swiftly learn how to get to his spots against the highest level of competition. There may be some growing pains along the way, but Wembanyama’s combination of pull-up touch and ability to draw contact on jumpers should make him fairly productive on these plays from the second he steps foot on the court. Using him on rolls to the basket will also be a productive form of offense from day one due to his gaudy catch radius on lobs.
Wembanyama’s combo of size and pull-up shooting will give him lots of on-ball gravity when he fully figures out scoring at the NBA level, and he should be able to progress as a passer as he sees more high post looks in the league. He could face double teams fairly early in his career, which will be good for his long run passing development. Wembanyama’s height gives him access to passing windows that some players wish they could access, as he should be able to scan the court from above and deliver high velocity passes to open teammates. Finding a balance between his on-ball scoring reps and using his off-ball gravity will be crucial for his development, and I believe that he could easily find this balance on a team like Detroit. The supporting cast around him meshes well with his skillset, as guys like Jalen Duren can lurk around the dunkers spot while Wembanyama operates from the high post, Jaden Ivey can 45 cut from the wings or curl around for downhill dribble hand-off plays, and Cade Cunningham can find angles to receive the ball and quickly move it to an open play finisher.
With how skilled Victor is, there is no telling what route he can take to be successful. He could become a taller Durant, or a more mobile Giannis with good touch. The goal in Houston, is to increase his strength while not having him put on too much weight, to really lean into his defensive ability. His size, foot speed, and ground coverage would make him an elite roamer in a system that needs good paint protection. Having Tari and Jabari guard the strong side wings, Victor will be able to protect and deny the weak side purely on his presence, and also hide the struggles of Jalen Green and potentially James Harden, should he find his way back to Houston. With Sengun also in the paint, Victor’s ability to protect the rim will be needed, and having him help from the weak-side cuts off half the court for the offense.
Offensively, he can do whatever he wants. Victor would come in being one of the best advantage creators on the team, and probably one of the better shooters. Having him play off Sengun would give the Rockets an unstoppable big-to-big game with the new rendition of the Twin Towers (Hakeem and Ralph Sampson), or having him play two-man with Jalen Green forces teams to either allow Jalen to blow past them, or give Victor the space to get the ball up high and finish at the rim. Offensively, the options are endless, and Victor will not be held back, as we want him to blossom into a player that we can rely on on both ends of the court.
Vic is a once in a lifetime talent that breaks our typical framework for archetypes and positionality on the basketball court. Is he a center? Is he a guard? Is he a 7’4 Kevin Durant? When the sky’s the limit, the only mistake you can make is aiming too low. There is no better place for Victor to spread his wings and really see what he could become than San Antonio.
Of course there is a desire to hone Vic’s off-ball scoring, easy buckets are a necessity for any star. That experience should happen through simple repetition. Basketball is a team sport, and Vic is one of the most gifted prospects in its history. Learning to best relocate on the perimeter, crash the offensive glass or attack gaps as a cutter will come with time, given you are playing in a team-oriented offense. Thankfully, that is the only way San Antonio knows how to play.
The goal for Vic is not to create some helio-centric star creator that has the ball every possession, nor is it to pair him with one. He has the touch, coordination, dribble package and high release to be the most dominant scorer in NBA history. Defensively, his ceiling as a roaming event creator is nearly just as high. We see little value in forcing him to guard true centers or defend ball screens constantly. Saving his body for the offensive end, and maximizing his help defense impact, will be paramount.
Maximizing that growth is the goal, and the only way to do that is to throw the kitchen sink. Pin downs, DHO operation, playing out of the mid post, operating as a roll man or as a handler, attacking shorter defenders in isolation. Everything is worth trying, because everything is possible. Prospects like that don’t come along often, and an organization with the pedigree of the San Antonio Spurs will not take that opportunity lightly.
We already have a good core that will benefit from your strengths as a creator. To start off and make it a bit easier for you, we could use you in a two-man game with LaMelo and steadily increase your on-ball creation usage when you are ready for it. But in the long run, we would strongly encourage you to play a similar role like you did with Metropolitans last season because it would enable us to build our offense around you with smart offball players like Biles Mridges, James Bouknight and Terry Rozier. LaMelo is used to playing all kinds of roles, and great players like you and him normally figure stuff out on the fly pretty quickly.
On defense, we would like you to act as both an anchor and roamer type, depending on lineups. Playing next to Mark Williams, we would like to give you reps as a roamer, for example. Most of the time, we would put you in a lineup, where you are the anchor next to PJ Washington and “Biles Mridges”, to complement you on that end.
Mets 92 has had success by simply giving you the ball early and letting you figure it out. We want to scratch whatever your ceiling is for on-ball creation as soon as we can your rookie year, with Lamelo getting you the ball in your actions as you each learn how to play off-ball with the other. On talent alone we should make the playoffs each season, and with that cushion to experiment, Victor will develop new post and iso moves he wouldn’t be able to with other squads. We have the flexibility of timelines: the talent to win now, but youth to experiment for the future.
We want the ball in Wemby’s hands as early as possible. Reps, reps, reps, and more reps as an initiator. For as polished an offensive prospect he is, our main focus is developing him as a playmaker, utilizing his planetary gravity to make others better. By the end of his rookie contract, we can 1.5:1 or even a 2:1 AST:TO ratio. Several calls to one Bill Walton have already been made.
Off-ball, we see Durant. Sharp cuts and off-ball screens leading to decisive play-making opportunities in the midrange and going downhill. Yes, the shooting is of utmost importance, but in the immediate future we want to take advantage of his touch and physical specs by establishing Victor as a dominant interior presence off the switch.
Defensively, it’ll be a lot of clam chowder, maple bacon donuts, and Nong’s Khao Man Gai. Adding weight and slowly adding strength. We want to calibrate physicality and fluidity, adding muscle without detracting from what makes him such a special off-ball athlete. We’ve seen shades of the ability to absorb contact, we just need to add slightly more volume to that frame to maximize his physical gifts.
A 7’5” human being who possesses an 8’ wingspan and the ability to dribble, pass, and shoot a basketball on the move; whose shot release looks as unblockable as Durant’s; whose grab-and-go modern point-center powers ideally fill out into a downhill force only emulated by Giannis; whose defensive motor never shuts off, deterring opponents from even thinking of approaching the paint like prime Dwight, Victor Webmanayam is a living testament to the create-a-player scenarios where a mad scientist takes the best traits of basketball legends, mixes them in a lab, and creates a freestylin’ Frankenstein Monstar.
Strength-building and weight management will be vital Wembanyama’s path to success at the NBA level, molding his body’s strengths and weaknesses to keep up with the grind of an NBA schedule. Putting on too much muscle could reduce his graceful mobility; not enough weight and he’ll be pushed around the paint like a rag doll. Maybe Wemby staying on the slimmer side accentuates his proven mobile skills like Anthony Davis. Even if that reduces his effectiveness defending and scoring out of the post, maybe that’s a worthwhile tradeoff in the long run since he’ll always have the footwork and shooting touch for post moves, doesn’t necessarily specialize in post-up defense, and can focus on being otherwordly in so many other areas. If Wemby’s ideal position from day one is a natural stretch-four help-side rim-protector, Wendell’s reliable two-way play at the 5 offers a strong traditional big man to pair Vic with against bigger frontcourts. Wemby can shift over to the 5 in advantageous matchups as he rounds out into his final NBA form, perhaps opting to put on necessary muscle to bang with the biggest bodies on the low block, like Embiid and Jokic.
In Orlando, Wembanyama has the opportunity to contribute to competitive basketball right away by filling an immediate rim-protecting floor-stretching role without being overtasked with too much of a scoring load in year one. Here, Wemby has a never-ending runway to develop into an on-ball superstar scoring creator as the team has plenty of playmaking, scoring, and defensive fortitude to fill any gaps along the way. As Wembanyama becomes more comfortable scoring in different on-ball playtypes, combining footwork, soft touch, and post moves into a consistent tough shot maker in all one-on-one situations, Victor’s scoring load should increase as long as the scoring stays efficient. Contesting without fouling, creating off the dribble, and making clean rotations are potential hurdles for Wembanyama to clear at the highest level, yet the basketball world may still wind up witnessing one of the most active shot-blockers, tough shot-makers, and lethal three-point snipers to ever play the game. Someone who can literally get his shot off over anything the defense throws at him, flashing scoring ability, rim-protection instincts, and all-around ball skills never seen before in the history of the sport for someone of his height and length, Victor Wembanyama’s development paths feel endless.
Defensively, I’d like to see Wemby as the true roamer. With Myles protecting the paint, a lot of the switch responsibilities should fall to Vic. He will also be sorely needed on the glass to augment Turner, who has never been a strong defensive rebounder. His presence as a helping and switch-ready 4 can help mask the deficiencies of a Haliburton/Mathurin-dominated backcourt, though Andrew Nembhard minutes certainly help out. His talents would be wasted as a full-time paint protector, and since Indiana does not have that need, the team has no impetus to put him in a less than ideal defensive position. He can be your Bam Adebayo long-term, there’s no need to ask that of him right out of the gate, even if he is fully capable.
On the offense, I think he can help Indy in a variety of ways. Myles Turner was in the 88th percentile for roll frequency amongst bigs last year, and though solid enough as a roll man he is an equal (if not better) threat as a spacing/pick-and-pop big. Vic should see an equal diet coming off ball screen actions, and has shown the ability to pop as well as he rolls. Unlike Turner, I think he should be given a long leash of self-creation off these rolls and pops. Ideally, a 25-30% share of his offense could come via self-creation early on. Encourage him to face up or attack closeouts on pops. Let him use rolls to establish post position or try to cross the lane looking for shooters/cutters. He can ideally fill a lot of the actions they could run with Sabonis in years past. A splash of 4/5 PNR with Wemby handling or inverted guard screening actions wouldn’t kill them either.
Long-term, if the Pacers intend on keeping Tyrese Haliburton for the long term, they need to place a lot of emphasis on his off-ball game to match what is already elite self-creation skill for a big of his frame/age. A strong off-ball game not only benefits Haliburton and the team, it gives Vic the opportunity to conserve energy for late-game on-ball reps when a 7’4” game-breaking shotmaker is needed.
Ideally I’d love to run a chin/horns/high post offense with Wemby and Porzingis being interchangeable pieces, though I’d lean towards Porzingis’ usage being more of an outside usage. Washington already has one of the more diverse and well oiled delay packages in the NBA, and I’d continue riding these with the addition of Victor. Using his gravity to get good looks for others, while deploying the likes of Corey Kispert and Bradley Beal as on the move guys, pushing for empty side actions, seems a good strategy to me.
Defensively, I’d leave Porzingis and Gafford on the interior and let Wemby cause havoc with his wingspan and general freakishness. Porzingis will generally play in drop, I’d likely deploy some of the same coverages Ty Lue uses with Zubac. By this I mean potentially ‘hiding’ him on a weaker offensive player and keeping Wemby on the ball, allowing Porzingis to be that weak side rim protector. Mostly, I’m looking to mix up coverages as much as possible.
To start off we would ease Victor in a mostly off-ball role, with more opportunity and chances with the ball in his hands once he looks like he’s ready for it. I actually think this year’s Lauri Markkanen is one of the closest NBA comps you can come up with in terms of the ideal usage Victor gets in his prime. Vic has more upside as a ball handler and is 4-5 inches taller, but I think the way Utah utilizes Lauri within their offense would be the blueprint for Victor down the line. He has the size/agility combo to be plenty capable creating his shot in isolation or even running occasional P&R, but he’ll be even more dangerous wreaking havoc off the ball as a cutter, ball screener, coming off curl screens, attacking the offensive glass, etc.
Defensively, we’d look to take advantage of Wemby’s generational mobility at his size by playing with another rim protector a majority of the time. This is the strategy Cleveland and Milwakuee have used around Evan Mobley/Jarrett Allen and Giannis/Brook Lopez pairings that have led extremely elite defenses, and a Victor/Walker Kessler pairing has an even higher ceiling than either of those duo’s. Vic at the 4 is the ultimate cheat code in the modern NBA, as he can fly all over the floor trying to cause as much havoc as possible while still having rim protection behind him.
Question Winner: San Antonio Spurs
Honorable mention: Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets
Sell me on your team’s long-term plan to not just make the playoffs but also contend?
Detroit (Josh A.):
The vision with Detroit long term goes as follows: an incredibly strong big four with complementary skill sets along with plenty of cap space currently available. Detroit made moves to acquire veterans like Bojan Bogdanovic last season, who can serve as the fifth starter for the time being. Bogdanovic provides the team with elite perimeter shooting and play finishing capabilities, and his wing scoring skill set works very well with the young core.
Detroit also has the money to sign a strong free agent this offseason. Consider names such as Cam Johnson or P.J. Washington, both tall wing/forward hybrids with valuable skill sets. Cam Johnson is a lights out shooter and would mesh very well with the team’s young core, and P.J. Washington brings some off-ball scoring capabilities on offense with active hands and length on defense. Either player would be very helpful for the Pistons, as they both provide something that the team currently lacks: outside shooting (more so Cam Johnson than P.J. Washington).
Houston has been at the bottom of the barrel of the league since the departure of James Harden, and the questions about our culture are loud and obvious to the average fan. However, we are taking a turn this season, and looking to right our wrongs from previous years. The hiring of Ime Udoka, a proven coach during his time with the Celtics, will help us get the most of young, improving players like Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun and Jabari Smith. With $47m in cap space, we can fill the roster with solid, experienced vets to complement our youth, and bring consistency to a lineup that allows their age to show a bit too often.
Our core 4 youth movement of the aforementioned Green, Sengun and Smith, along with Victor, will be our focus, as each player complements the other on both ends of the court. While it may be a tough year or two to start, we are tired of losing in Houston, and will stop at nothing to get back to our winning ways that made us the 3rd winningest franchise between 2000 and 2020. Developing our youth, adding vets who can get the team right both on and off the court, and hiring personnel that will get the most out of our players, is our goal these next few years, and with Victor, we will only reach that goal faster.
The San Antonio Spurs were in perpetual title contention for nearly two full decades, surrounding Tim Duncan with a bevy of different playstyles and roster constructions tailored to their franchise cornerstone.
Building a contender is about building a cohesive roster with scalable, defensive minded talent. Devin Vassel, Jeremy Sochan and Zach Collins offer a foundation of competitive and complementary talent that will be easily built out over time. Keldon Johnson, Malaki Branham and Tre Jones will help in creating easier looks for Vic through a combination of floor spacing and steady-handed pick and roll play.
Most importantly, the Spurs are asset-rich with nothing tied down. We currently own all of our future first round picks with the rights to future firsts from Charlotte, Chicago, Toronto, and twice from Atlanta. Building chemistry throughout a roster is important and finding the right context to grow with is a fickle task. Some of those pieces are already in place with the assets needed to make a big move when the time is right.
Maintaining flexibility is the primary goal, as it is with any long-term enterprise. Things will go wrong along the way, flaws will be addressed. We have the future draft capital, prospects and cap space to address any speed bump along Vic’s journey to the NBA’s Mount Rushmore.
This team is going to have a fresh start under new ownership with you as the franchise cornerstone. With you, LaMelo and the young core, we are just missing 1–2 pieces to make a deep run in the east in the foreseeable future. As I said before, we have pretty clean books from a roster building perspective, as well as a talented core to set up the future. The primary goal is developing the young core and adding additional pieces in free agency. We aren’t a free agent destination, but the chance to play alongside you and LaMelo could change that to an extent.
It’s well known among coaches and front office staff around the league that Charlotte is among the league’s lowest spenders and I expect that to change under the new ownership group. We will turn every stone around and are looking to improve the franchise as a whole.
Look at Lebron’s first stint with the Cavs and Luka with the Mavs. Conversely, look at the Tim Duncan situation when he was drafted number one by a Spurs team that already had HoFer David Robinson. Teams that take on a star rookie without the assets around him to build a competitive ballclub tend to whither under the pressure of that ticking clock. Any team with Damian Lillard and our amount of perimeter scoring will compete for the playoffs. In terms of contention, we know our roster needs improving, but we have more tools and a much more malleable squad than others would have you to believe.
This offseason, we have two trade exceptions totalling $10.5 million, the full Non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($12.2m), and the full bi-annual exception ($4.5m). Not to mention our current cap progressions don’t really tell the story of our books. Jerami Grant is a free agent, Cam Reddish is a sign-and-trade waiting to happen, and the only cap hold we 100% know we’re interested in resigning is Matisse Thybulle (not to mention the not-so-secret secret that we can always hit eject on Simons along with our trade exceptions to bring in an even more impactful player). We’re in a position to win around the edges, and with how wide open the West is, we’re the only team that can feasibly compete for a deep playoff run while Wemby’s still on his rookie deal.
Thanks to the team-building process of front office execs Jeff Weltman and John Hammond, Orlando has sought out, targeted, and recruited good all-around basketball players who look for the open man, make the best decision for the team, and play hard on both ends. Behind the dual-wielding 6’10” drive-and-kick scoring hub on the wing in Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner, the steady hand of pace-pushing playmaking point guards in Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony, the strong sturdy 3&D play of Wendell Carter Jr. and Gary Harris, the explosive energy of a second unit led by Jalen Suggs and the intriguing lengthy upside of Bol Bol and Jonathan Isaac, Orlando may already have the brightest young core in the NBA full of two-way team-first connector prospects at every position.
This season, Orlando made the 3rd biggest leap in wins, racking up 12 more W’s than the year before. After a 5-16 start without their starting point, Markelle Fultz returned to the lineup, playing in every game since. Over the next 58 games with Fultz at the helm, the Magic posted a .500 record, ranking 7th in overall Defense by D-RTG and 6th in drawing fouls as a team via FT Rate. The Magic being so proficient in paint touches, drives, and drawing fouls between the creation of 3+ players all under 25 years old are bright red flashing lights signaling a sustainable scoring system. Orlando’s length, energy, and rotations already doing the little things necessary to rank highly as an elite defense when the roster is relatively healthy is a positive sign that player-favorite Head Coach Jamahl Mosley’s message to play hard and hustle every play is hitting home.
The biggest magic trick Orlando pulled off this season is putting out the team’s most watchable product on the floor in a decade, with non-stop competitive energy and an open up-and-down style of play, competing for a playoff spot up until the final week, all while maintaining one more shot in the lottery before “being too good to be bad”. The Magic somehow entertained fans for the full season while ending up with the 6th-best overall lottery odds and a 9% chance at winning the lottery outright for the draft rights to the most dynamic rim-protecting and tough shot-making scoring prospect the sport has seen since Kevin Durant, if not ever. Orlando has enough depth of competitive young talent to project a perennial playoff team going forward no matter who the team drafts this summer, with possibly two lottery picks on the way, and the cap flexibility to pursue at least one max-salary star in free agency. Imagining the overwhelming length, defensive impact, and scoring versatility in a lineup featuring Fultz, Franz, Paolo, Wembanyama and Isaac, Suggs, Cole, or Wendell is scary to think about.
If you are adding the approximately 4-year/$42M deal that Vic gets to the salary sheet, the Pacers will be guaranteed paying 5 total players in 2024: Tyrese, Vic, Myles, Mathurin, and Andrew Nembhard. Assuming Haliburton is paid the rookie max a la Ja Morant, they’re looking at a roughly 5-year, $200M commitment. That leaves them paying roughly $75M for the core of the roster after this season, one in which they could probably still make some noise with Buddy Hield in the fold and some decent role guys.
Indiana can decline options on Daniel Theis, Isaiah Jackson, and Chris Duarte worth a total of 19.9M to end up with nearly $50M in cap space, more than enough to add a max contract to the fold. With the 26th, 29th, and a couple of seconds in this year’s draft, it’s reasonable to say the Pacers will add 1-2 more potential cheap young contributors, who can fill in at the margins or form part of a trade package. Extensions loom large as ever, but the 2024 free-agent class is loaded with All-Star caliber wings that Indiana can take a stab at. We saw with the DeAndre Ayton RFA offer that the front office is at least somewhat serious about spending to capitalize on their young talent.
The Pacers could maneuver their way into contention by 2026, when Wembanyama will be extension ready, by capitalizing on the draft this year and making shrewd decisions to try and land the big fish in the 2024 offseason. Even if they don’t, $40-50M spent on the right role players to augment a Haliburton/Wemby/Turner core could make them a tough matchup in the East. If signings or later draft picks break their way, who’s to say this isn’t the right time for the Pacers?
The elephant in the room is the Bradley Beal contract, it’s untradeable. He however is still pretty good and I think in the short-term, a playoff series win isn’t off the table. It may sound crazy, but the sheer size of the lineup with Kuzma, Wemby and Porzingis is going to be very unique in the Western Conference. Add that to the fact the likes of Delon Wright and Corey Kispert are pretty scalable and easy-fitting, pushing for playoff relevance isn’t completely ouf of the question.
Down the line, being aggressive in trades and playing the margins is a pivotal part of the process.
I think Victor’s rookie season we would likely make the postseason just off sheer talent, but it would largely be a feel it out year to see what type of roster and personnel fit the best around Vic. Is the gigantic Lauri/Victor/Kessler front court tenable long term? If not, which one out of Lauri or Kessler is the better fit and which one should look to be traded? Does Vic need a strong playmaker next to him to thrive, or can he be just as productive with a scoring PG like Colin Sexton?
These are the type of questions we’d be focused on answering in Victor’s rookie season. Then from there, we can execute getting the correct players around him using Utah’s massive collection of assets. Between the approximately 14 first round picks the Jazz own from now to 2029 in addition to good/young players on attractive contracts (Sexton, Ochai Agbaji, Lauri, Kessler) we’d have plenty of assets to build the ideal supporting cast to supplement Victor and whoever we want to keep in the core next to him.
Question Winner: Orlando Magic
Honorable mention: Portland Trail Blazers
How do you see me fitting into your franchise off the court? What can you offer that others cannot?
Detroit is often looked down upon by NBA fans, but the city and franchise has a distinct long-term culture that Wembanyama could fit into. The team has always been known as a “take care of business” type of franchise, as teams like the Bad Boys and the mid 2000s Pistons were always some of the hardest working teams in the league. Young players like Cade Cunningham have publicly adopted this mindset, and Wembanyama could be next in line to fit into the team’s culture. Basketball is in a good place when the Motor City is fighting for the top, and a generational talent like Victor Wembanyama could propel the core to contention within his first few years with the team.
*Cue Tops Drop by Fat Pat*
No city in the bottom of the lottery has more culture than Houston. Let’s start with the most diverse city in the United States. Candy paint lowriders, taquerias on every corner, a beautiful skyline, and a city that loves every athlete that walks through the door. In the heart of Houston, you will find yourself a home that not only accepts you, but wants you to become part of the culture.
Do you miss France? French is the 6th most spoken language in Houston, with plenty of french restaurants scattering the city, and you can catch a direct flight to Paris whenever you like. Like the beach? Take a drive down to Galveston, or a joyride to South Padre over the weekend. Want the big city feel, but like your space? Houston is the 4th most populated city in the US, while also being #1 in area, so there’s nothing but space for you. More of a party guy? Welcome to the strip club capital of the United States. Big fan of outer space? Check out Space Center Houston, and see yourself among the stars. Like rap music? Find yourself hanging out with legends like Bun B, Slim Thug and Maxo Kream as they are a huge part of the culture in Houston. And don’t forget the best part: NO. STATE. TAX. The millions you’ll be making will go straight to your pocket, giving little to the government to mooch off of you, as you find yourself making more and more money in the best city in Texas.
Not to mention our long standing history of elite bigs, Houston is THE home for big men. With players like Moses Malone, Ralph Sampson, Yao Ming, Dwight Howard, and the legend Hakeem Olajuwon walking through the city, Victor Wembanyama will see his name hung up with some of the best bigs in NBA history. Everything is bigger down here, and adding a 7’5” superstar only proves that fact.
The question is this Victor, what kind of star do you want to be?
The city of San Antonio, and as a result the Spurs organization, is built on a singular foundation: family. This is a city proud of its culture and unchanging in its values. San Antonio is the largest city in America to be predominantly hispanic and you feel that everywhere you look. This is the Mexican-American city.
I would imagine the folks in Houston told you they have great tacos.
Forgive them. They know not of what they speak.
San Antonio is a place where you will be beloved the moment you walk through the door, but more than that you will be respected. This isn’t some glitzy city concerned with celebrity or fame, you will have the freedom to live as normal of a life as you want. This is an educated basketball fanbase that understands the price of excellence. If you show up, they will love you until the end of time.
The question is not whether the city will turn on you when times get tough, it is the number of murals you would like to be made in your honor. 7? 13? 23? We’ll make it happen.
The truth is, you will be an earth-shattering star wherever you go, your city will not determine that. If your goal is to become an actor, it might not be a great fit. If your aims are something higher than mere celebrity, but rather excellence and sustainability, there is no better place. Building a dynasty takes a remarkable amount of support and no other city knows better, we’ve done it before. La familia isn’t going anywhere, thick or thin. You won’t find that anywhere else.
I’m sure you’ve already spoken with Tony *Parker* our Nic *Batum* about our franchise and what the city has to offer. You can become the face of the city and Charlotte Hornets basketball pretty quickly.
Want to be the next goat? Consult with the current one. Want to hang out at one of our thousands of breweries to debrief from a tough-fought game? We got you. Hikes? Beaches? We’ll remind you of the French countryside if you let us (and squint).
We know there’s nothing Vic likes to do more after a long day of eviscerating the competition than curling up with a good book. Few places are better to call home than the PNW. With the tip-tap of rain on the roof, beautiful forests, and the silhouette of mountains in the background? Are you kidding me? Sounds like heaven. But, if he wants to hit the town in search of fine art, underground jazz music, or a refreshing seasonal IPA (in a coupla years), Portland has all of that and then some.
There’s just something about Portland and Vic that feels kindred. Portland is a multicultural urban hub in a quiet, beautiful state. Wemby’s the best prospect since Lebron but by all accounts is more of a gentle giant (off the court) than a Shaq. While the media circus will follow Vic wherever he goes, the opportunity to return to Portland and be the friendly neighborhood Wemby will do wonders to calm the immense pressure placed on him to start his career.
Ultimately, with a recent change in ownership, head coach, and GM, we see Victor as a sign of the times in Portland. Bringing in Vic as the totem that times they are a’changing for our franchise. He stabilizes things off the court as much as he does on it. For as much as the fan base will love him wherever he goes, he’ll always be compared to Hakeem in Houston, Tim Duncan in San Antonio, Zeke in Detroit, or Reggie in Indiana. With all the newness in Portland, he’ll have a chance to really grow along with the team as he helps define the Golden Era of Blazers basketball.
Sunshine and sunshowers. Freshly squeezed orange juice. No state income tax. Ever hear of the most magical place on earth? Orlando has warmer weather and more access to things to do than most NBA cities. Players make millions extra in salary by saving on income tax. The city is an hour drive to some of the most heavenly beaches on the planet, while being far enough inland to generally be safe from storms on the coast.
Between Shaquille O’Neal, Dwight Howard, and Paolo Banchero, Orlando only knows how to drop hits with the number one overall pick, even trading for Penny Hardaway the one year they shipped the pick out. (Chris Webber) Magic fans who have been loyal through the last decade that national media members treat as a laughing stock are die-hard supporters, yet none of the off-court drama exists here compared to larger market fan bases with media outlets adding unnecessary pressure or being overly negative. There isn’t a spotlight on every failure in Orlando compared to L.A. or Phili. Players have the freedom to make mistakes here and learn from them with long-term positive support to develop freely.
From upscale bars and nice restaurants to dive bars and sketchy clubs, Orlando offers a downtown atmosphere with suburban options, filled with museums, lake walks and theme parks as far as the eye can see. There’s always something going on twenty minutes away whether you’re raising a family or living single going out on the town. Be a tourist one day, a local bar-hopper the next day, and a beach bum the day after that. Live whatever life you want here. There’s a reason the first thing players say after winning the championship is “I’m going to Disney World.”
Indiana is the basketball state. It doesn’t have the glamour of New York or LA, or the up-and-coming appeal of other NBA cities, but the culture surrounding the game is as good as you can hope to get. If he’s an outdoorsy kind of guy, they have some nice lakes. If he’s a city guy, Indianapolis is indeed a city, and Chicago is also close by. It’s not as appealing as the on-court fit, but he will have options for what kind of lifestyle he wants to live, whether he chooses intense urban sprawl or open skies.
Victor is an intelligent guy, and he knows that coming to DC would help elevate his profile not just as a basketball player but as an ambassador for the sport at the US capitol. It’s a short trip to the White House when we win the championship, and will give you plenty of avenues for expanding your brand however you’d want, in a central, big market location. Can any of the other teams in the lottery offer you that? I don’t think so.
We have been dreaming of a star of your caliber to arrive to tap into our basketball culture as a city, with grassroots hoops all around as well as front row season tickets to the Mystics. We’re a quick trip up or down the coast to whatever vacation location you desire, and as quick as you’ll find of a commute back to France. Make DC what you want of it!
One of the benefits of the Jazz organization is we’ve had a lot of success with foreign players and keeping them happy in recent history. The best player on the team currently is the Finnish Lauri Markkanen, and before him Rudy Gobert, who you know personally, was one of the most iconic Jazz players in franchise history and embraced by the fan base. Outside of basketball Salt Lake City might not be the most exciting or action packed NBA city, but the state of Utah is beautiful and there’s something to be said for a lack of distractions off the court.
Question Winner: Houston Rockets
Honorable mention: Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs
Give me a player besides Vic in the projected top of draft who you think would be an excellent fit on your team in the case of missing on him?
If the Pistons are not lucky enough to walk away from the draft with Victor Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson would obviously be the player the team should take if they end up with the second overall pick. Lots of Pistons fans scoff at the idea of running three guards together, but I believe that the offensive potential that a trio of Cunningham, Henderson, and Ivey has is unquantifiable. The halfcourt offense would be strong, as the team would then have three players who can create an advantage and send the defense into a scramble. The core also has the requisite blend of feel and athleticism to take advantage of these scrambling defenses, as all of these players project to be good cutters with different tools to punish the opposing defense. Guard to guard hand-off plays would be incredibly effective with this core as well, as allowing one of Henderson or Ivey to get downhill with Cade Cunningham finding open pockets in the defense seems like an absolute nightmare to guard.
The transition offense would be elite with this trio as well, as Cunningham can loft outlet passes with quarterback-esque ball placement to either Jaden Ivey or Scoot Henderson. Both of these players are elite open court athletes, and countering both of them with a head of steam feels like an impossible task for opposing transition defenders. This team should be able to run the court all game long, controlling the game’s tempo and making up for many defensive concerns.
Speaking of defense, this is where lots of Pistons fans become uncomfortable with Henderson’s fit into the team’s current core. I personally believe that the defense would be fine if the team prioritizes acquiring more rim protection from their power forward spot, as the team possesses a true anchor in Jalen Duren. Scoot Henderson also projects to be a positive guard defender due to his insane combination of strength and lateral quickness, though he currently has a ways to go as an off-ball defender. With the ball-handling duties being split among three players, all three will likely be able to fully buy-in on the defensive end of the court, and with Jalen Duren anchoring the unit, the team should be a functional half court defense with the upside to surprise some people on that end.
If you read my previous answers, you’ll notice a huge lack of point guards being talked about. While Houston has some great pieces at the 2-5 positions, having Kevin Porter Jr play point guard has not worked out, and the team should be looking elsewhere. Luckily, this draft also has one of the best point guard prospects in the last decade. Scoot Henderson from G League Ignite, while having a slower year than many anticipated, is still clearly the 2nd best prospect in the class behind Victor, and would be a huge relief to the Rockets, who struggled to have any kind of offensive creation last season outside of Sengun.
Having a true point guard who can play both on and off-ball, and create an athletic backcourt with Jalen Green would help push the Rockets from a poor decision-making young team, to a dynamic, young squad that can punch you in the mouth off tip every game. Scoot, while not being AS impactful as Victor long term, does still fill in a huge hole for the Rockets, and brings a level of athleticism, decision-making and skill at the 1 position that the team is missing.
I have spent the last 6 months with five simple words etched into my brain, permeating nearly every waking thought I have.
Amen Thompson is a Spur.
Victor Wembanyama is far and away the top prospect in the class, that is undisputed, but Amen Thompson is the best fit considering their existing team needs.
The San Antonio Spurs were far and away the worst team in the NBA at maintaining and creating advantages last season, and it wasn’t particularly close.
The patented hum from Spurs offenses past began with one thing: rim pressure. Without it, there was no drive to kick start the drive and kick offense.
Amen Thompson is the preeminent rim pressure threat of this class and potentially of the decade, apparating past defenders on the perimeter at the drop of a hat. The Spurs roster is littered with excellent spacing and dependent scoring in Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, Malaki Branham, Doug McDermott and Zach Collins. Amen will have more than enough space to make his magic happen, and with his very presence the Spurs would finally, once again make sense.
Amen Thompson could be the next great Spurs point guard, following in the lighting-quick first steps of Tony Parker, but this time with the positional size and maddening creative genius that allowed Manu Ginobili to steal the heart of an entire city. That possibility alone is worth the price of admission.
Amen Thompson is a Spur. I feel it in my bones.
LaMelo’s size and skillset would allow us to make everyone of the top prospects fit, but Amen Thompson would be a mesmerizing match with him. We could become one of the most lethal teams in transition with both Amen’s and LaMelo’s ability to throw mind-boggling outlet passes and run the floor hard on every opportunity. Both also would complement each other really well as tall ball handlers with superb passing ability and high level of feel on the basketball court. I would expect them to build a similar bond as a passing duo as Amen’s with his twin brother, but with Amen more often on the receiving end of the pass. He is the best overall athlete in the draft and probably a top 5 athlete by the time he steps on the floor and in most draft years would have a strong argument to be the number one prospect of the draft.
Great question, our situation is a bit different from those of our lottery companions. We have perimeter scoring, but our roster needs balance. We see Jarace Walker as a really strong fit alongside our current squad. We have enough on-ball guards, what we need is a culture establishing bulldog with positional versatility. He fits both of our needs and wants, adding high level lottery talent as well as filling the needs with a two-way wing. We love his defensive ceiling and offensive floor and see him as a 15 year NBA player for a successful ballclub.
Ausar Thompson, Amen’s twin brother, could be a great fit to grow with Orlando. The Thompson Twins played for Pine Crest in Florida during high school before playing in Overtime Elite; while some scouts recently bring up doubts due to competition levels, we can’t ignore god given talent, natural abilities, and hard work. Amen and Ausar are two high flying guards who have the first step, burst, body and ball control to explode at the rim at will, creating paint touches with ease, with the finishing touch at the rim helping to create a realistic development paths going forward as downhill scoring forces with tough shot-making abilities. Elite athleticism, footwork, and timing helps the twins bring high-level defensive impact.
While Amen rightfully receives praise for blurring coast-to-coast highlights, Ausar has flashed more of a C&S 3pt shot diet and defensive activity through their early careers. Amen ranked 3rd in blocks in Overtime Elite’s season with 33; Ausar nearly doubled that total with 60 blocks to lead all players. In a three season sample at Pine Crest, Amen shot 28.9% 3P% (45/156 3PA) from downtown while Ausar attempted more than twice as many on similar efficiency at 30% 3P%. (111/370 3PA) From the free throw line, one demarcation for future scoring development, Amen shot 62.5% (267/427 FTA) while Ausar shot nearly 10% better on similar volume at 71.3% FT%. (263/369 FTA)
Both twins deserve to be high lottery picks, with Amen in rumors as high as 2nd overall. While Amen could swiftly become a north-south force star and household name, Ausar could quickly fill an off-ball 3&D role locking down the other team’s best perimeter player at point of attack on one end while attacking closeouts off the creation of others like Paolo, Franz, and Fultz on the other end while maintaining similar exciting upside as his brother. With development of tight handles, versatile shooting profile, and tough shot-making, all the skills could come together for Ausar to take a high two-way floor and develop into a dynamic on-ball scoring option.
Though it’s tempting to say Amen Thompson, as he would be the ideal backcourt mate for Tyrese, I want to be realistic about draft spot. But his brother Ausar might fall right in their range.
Indiana is lacking scoring juice on the wings outside of Ben Mathurin, so Brandon Miller feels like a logical fit, but I’d like to see Indiana add more playmaking to the perimeter along with potentially elite defense and some scoring chops. Ausar feels primed to step into a Lonzo Ball-type role as a strong ballhandler and elite second-side attacker with connective passing chops and the potential for a solid catch-and-shoot game. He can also take the hardest defensive matchups off Haliburton and Mathurin’s plate, and the energy he expels on that end will be countered by the load that Hali/Eggs Benny can shoulder on the other end.
I can’t think of a better balance of scoring on and off ball, playmaking, and defensive potential in a three-man group of young prospects. That’s the kind of talent that could put Indiana back on the basketball map, even without Wembanyama
We like Bradley Beal playing off of versatile defenders who can shoot, and if Wemby is a miss, why not swing on Taylor Hendricks in the top 10. Hendricks has shown promise as a shotmaker (40% on 4.6 threes per game) and a stocks-maker (1.7 blocks, 0.9 steals per game) and we like his upside as someone who can also play day 1 with his athleticism.
Hendricks can shadow Porzingis as a rangy scorer/shotblocker, while also developing unique chemistry with wing of the future Deni Avdija. Hendricks’ biggest weakness is likely lacking the highest level of feel for positioning, where Deni can make up for his weaknesses with sharp passing, step-ahead rotations.
For fringe playoff teams, athleticism, shooting and defense can only help. All that while keeping star upside? Sign me up.
The easy answer to this is Scoot Henderson. Even without Vic, we have quite a bit of talent and versatility in the front court, and based off the 2nd half of his rookie season Ochai Agbaji is gonna be a fixture in our wing rotation for years to come. The biggest issue by far with our core right now is the lack of a top tier primary ball handler; and while Colin Sexton and Talen-Horton Tucker are both getting better and each have a genuinely elite trait to build upon, it’s clear that neither is close to rivaling Scoot Henderson as a long term prospect.
Outside of being a little light on perimeter defense, a Scoot/Agbaji/Lauri/Kessler checks virtually every box and we’d have plenty of assets left to invest in another 2-way wing to supplement this core. Amen Thompson or Anthony Black would also be great fits as potential NBA lead guards, but there’s no doubt that Scoot Henderson’s playstyle and star power would give our core the best possible chance at contending out of any player in this draft not named Victor.
Charlotte Hornets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, NBA Draft, NBA Draft Lottery, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Victor Wembanyama, Washington Wizards
Wembanyama's superpower is his ability to defend in the paint. He is the best shot-blocking prospect to enter the NBA in a long time. He led EuroLeague in blocked shots as a 17-/18-year-old and blocked twice as many shots as any player in the French League in 2022-23.Who is the number 1 pick in the NBA draft 2023? ›
The NBA Draft Lottery is complete and the San Antonio Spurs will have the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. They are expected to take Victor Wembanyama.When was the NBA draft 2023? › What time is the NBA draft? ›
ESPN will broadcast the 2023 NBA draft lottery at 8 p.m. EDT on Tuesday. This year's lottery draft will be held at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago and will feature NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum revealing when each team will pick in ascending order.Who is the best fit for Wembanyama? ›
1. San Antonio Spurs (14%): The Spurs are the best fit for Wembanyama. They're a steady organization with a proven track record of developing and maximizing young talent. Plus, Wembanyama would get the opportunity to start his career by playing for one of the best coaches of all time in Gregg Popovich.Who is the best prospect since LeBron? ›
4 things to know about Victor Wembanyama, the top NBA prospect since LeBron. Victor Wembanyama has played far above his competition in France. At 19, he's now heading to the NBA.Which Thompson twin is better? ›
Ok, breathe. The NBA lottery was quite an exhilarating time to be a fan of the Charlotte Hornets.Who has the number 2 draft pick 2023? ›
Stroud with No. 2 overall pick; trade up for Alabama's Will Anderson at No. 3 overall in 2023 NFL Draft.What year did NBA stop drafting from high school? ›
Since 2006, the practice of drafting high school players has been prohibited by the new collective bargaining agreement, which requires that players who enter the draft be 19 years of age or older and at least one year removed from high school.
The 2003 Draft class is widely considered one of the greatest draft classes in NBA history.Who won NBA draft lottery? ›
Winner: Trail Blazers
The San Antonio Spurs won the NBA Draft lottery and the right to select Victor Wembanyama with the ping pong ball combo 14, 5, 8, 2.
The basic rules that started in the 2006 draft are: All drafted players must be at least 19 years old during the calendar year of the draft. To determine whether a player is eligible for a given year's draft, subtract 19 from the year of the draft. If the player was born during or before that year, he is eligible.How many lottery picks are in the NBA draft? ›
Under the current rules, only the top four picks are decided by the lottery, and are chosen from the 14 teams that do not make the playoffs. The team with the worst record, or the team that holds the draft rights of the team with the worst record, has the best chance to obtain a higher draft pick.How is the NBA lottery done? ›
To determine the No. 1 pick, individual ping pong balls are selected to create a four-number combination. The team that matches up with the combination chosen is then awarded the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. That same process is then done again to determine picks second through fourth.Which team will get Victor Wembanyama? ›
On Tuesday night, they got the centerpiece. The Spurs are the lucky organization that won the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery and have earned the right to select Victor Wembanyama with the No. 1 overall pick. To say Wembanyama is a franchise-changer is an understatement.How tall is Victor Wembanyama really? › Who is LeBron's bff? ›
LeBron James has been married for nearly 10 years now, and it would appear his best friend, Rich Paul might be tying the knot soon.Who is a better defender LeBron or Jordan? ›
But Jordan was the superior defender. He was more consistent, had better IQ, and was more relentless. He had better hands and was more impactful on defense.
Jordan was the flashier scorer – 10 scoring titles and the highest career scoring average in NBA history – and the better defender (leading the league in steals three times), while James has been the better playmaker with 106 career regular-season triple-doubles to Jordan's 28.Are Ausar and Amen twins? ›
Amen and Ausar Thompson are identical twin brothers who just turned 20 years old and spent last season playing ball with the Overtime Elite. While their genetics may be nearly indecipherably different from one another's, their play on the court does give us a little bit to parse and debate.What rank is Amen and Ausar? ›
Amen is ranked as the No. 5 player on the CBS Sports Big Board. Ausar is No. 6.Who are the best twins in NBA history? ›
The Grant twins are probably the most famous twins in NBA history. They both peaked in the 1990s as two tough and physical power forwards in the league. Horace was drafted first in 1987 by the Chicago Bulls, while Harvey came into the league in 1988 after getting picked by the Washington Bullets.How many draft picks in 2023? ›
NFL Draft 2023 Order from Rounds 1-7: All 259 picks and 32 teams - The Athletic.Who will Spurs draft in 2023? ›
2023 NBA Draft Lottery: San Antonio Spurs land No. 1 overall pick, right to select Victor Wembanyama.Who did the Spurs draft 2023? ›
2023 NBA Draft Lottery results: Spurs win top pick, right to select Victor Wembanyama; No. 2 goes to Hornets.Who was number 3 draft pick 2023? ›
Plenty of excitement Thursday from Kansas City, Missouri, with Round 1 providing its fair share of trades and surprises, notably the Houston Texans not only taking Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud with the second overall pick but then vaulting back up to No. 3 for Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson.Who was Mr. Irrelevant 2023? ›
The Los Angeles Rams closed out the 2023 NFL Draft by using the No. 259 overall pick to select defensive lineman Desjuan Johnson, otherwise known as the new Mr. Irrelevant.Why did Miami forfeit their pick? ›
The NFL has suspended Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and fined him $1.5 million for tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton following a six-month investigation stemming from Brian Flores' racial discrimination lawsuit against the league.
Chris Ford, a member of the Boston Celtics, knocks down the first 3-point field goal in the NBA History.Who is the oldest draft in NBA history? ›
On July 24, 2012, Prigioni signed a one-year contract with the New York Knicks for the rookie minimum. At age 35, Prigioni became the oldest rookie in NBA history, when he made his debut on November 2, 2012.What NBA year had the worst draft class? ›
The 2000 draft class is considered one of the worst in NBA history. Few of its draftees would enjoy extended careers in the league. Just three of them -- top pick Kenyon Martin, first-round selection Jamaal Magloire (19th overall) and second-round pick Michael Redd (43rd overall) -- ever played in an NBA All-Star Game.What is the best draft class in NFL history? ›
1981. The 1981 draft was the epitome of a stacked class from top to bottom. While the first round had no shortage of stars, including Lawrence Taylor, Kenny Easley and Ronnie Lott, the real accomplishment of this class was the complete talent through all 12 rounds.What draft class has the most Hall of Famers? ›
The class of 1967 has more Hall of Fame inductees than any other class in NFL history. This draft had value from top to bottom, as Griese went fourth overall and 12-time Pro Bowler Ken Houston was the 214th overall pick.What NBA draft had the most Hall of Famers? ›
1970 NBA Draft
It has more Hall of Famers than any other draft class. It consists of Bob Lanier (first overall), Pete Maravich (third overall), Dave Cowens (fourth overall), Calvin Murphy (18th overall), Nate "Tiny" Archibald (19th overall), and many other all stars.
The Spurs earned the top selection for the 2023 NBA draft Tuesday after winning the league's annual draft lottery. That also means San Antonio is expected to select the consensus top prospect in this year's draft in French star Victor Wembanyama.How did the Spurs get the number 1 pick? ›
The San Antonio Spurs won the NBA lottery Tuesday in Chicago, giving them the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.Who gets first pick in NBA draft? ›
The first pick is awarded to the team that wins the NBA draft lottery; in most cases, that team had a losing record in the previous season. The team with the first pick attracts significant media attention, as does the player who is selected with that pick.Who is the youngest NBA player ever? ›
The youngest player ever to play in the NBA was Andrew Bynum, who played his first game only six days after his 18th birthday.
Pate, 17, is the youngest American-born professional basketball player ever. He won't be eligible for the NBA Draft until 2025. Pate will sign a two-year deal with the Ignite and make his debut during the 2023 NBA Summer League.Can a player go back to college if not drafted? ›
Three years later (following what would be their junior year of college), they re-enter the draft pool and can be picked again. But if they go unselected — or are not satisfied with when they went — they can return for their senior year. A year later, the process repeats itself.Who won the NBA Lottery 2023? ›
CHICAGO – The San Antonio Spurs won NBA Draft Lottery 2023 presented by State Farm, which was conducted at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago. The Spurs will have the first overall pick in NBA Draft 2023 presented by State Farm, which will be held on Thursday, June 22.Is the Bulls 2023 pick protected? ›
The Chicago Bulls will not have their pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. With Dalen Terry representing the team, the Bulls watched their pick land at 11th overall, meaning it will now convey to the Orlando Magic. The selection was top-four protected from the Nikola Vucevic trade the Bulls made in 2021.When did NBA lottery odds change? ›
In 2017, the NBA introduced a revised lottery system that took effect for the 2019 NBA Draft. Under the previous system, the team with the worst record had the highest chance of securing the top overall pick.How are NBA Draft Lottery odds determined? ›
Based on a team's record in the 2022-23 regular season, they receive odds to land certain picks in the draft. The lottery will determine only the top four picks in the draft, meaning the team with the worst record this season (Detroit Pistons) is still guaranteed no worse than a top-five pick.How to win a game of gambling in the NBA? ›
- Make a Bankroll Management Plan. ...
- Research Injury Reports and Rest Management. ...
- Keep an Eye on the Schedule. ...
- Deposit at a Trusted NBA Betting Site. ...
- Read the Bookmaker. ...
- Find the Shaded Lines. ...
- Fade the Public. ...
- Take Advantage of NBA Live Betting.
One of the first aspects that gets brought up when analyzing Victor Wembanyama's offensive profile is his impressive shooting ability for his size.How much money does Victor Wembanyama make? ›
Victor Wembanyama's net worth in 2023 (estimate): $1.5 million. Wembanyama began his professional career in 2019 for Nanterre 92 in France, and he has since seen his notoriety blossom at an exponential scale. This has led Victor Wembanyama's net worth in 2023 to sit at $1.5 million, per portsManor.
Victor Wembanyama (born 4 January 2004) is a French professional basketball player for Metropolitans 92 of the LNB Pro A.How did Wembanyama learn English? ›
In middle school, Wembanyama began teaching himself English, knowing that to play in the N.B.A. he would need proficiency beyond the little he'd learned in school. He watched videos from American accounts on Instagram, along with English-language television shows.Who is most likely to draft Victor Wembanyama? ›
The Spurs will almost certainly grab Victor Wembanyama, but the real intrigue begins at No. 2 between Brandon Miller and Scoot Henderson. Scoot Henderson, who starred last season for G League Ignite, is projected to be a top 3 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.Did Victor Wembanyama declare for the draft? ›
Victor Wembanyama, the 19-year-old French basketball phenom who stands at 7-foot-2, officially declared for the 2023 NBA Draft as expected Friday.How big is Victor Wembanyama? ›
Victor Wembanyama's height is 7-foot-5 (2.26-meter) with shoes on. With San Antonio Spurs winning NBA Draft Lottery, there's almost no doubt that Victor Wembanyama will be coached by the legendary Gregg Popovich.How old is Wembanyama? ›
The 19-year-old that LeBron James dubbed "a generational talent" captivated basketball fans during a two-game exhibition showcase in October against Scoot Henderson's G League Ignite.How much does Kevin Garnett make? › When was Scoot Henderson born? ›
Scoot Henderson (born February 3, 2004) is a guard for G League Ignite.What team does Victor Wembanyama want to play for? ›
The Spurs are the lucky organization that won the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery and have earned the right to select Victor Wembanyama with the No. 1 overall pick. To say Wembanyama is a franchise-changer is an understatement.
“He was 13 years old, about 6-6, when he joined our U15 team. Very polite, smart kid,'' recounts Bryan George, video assistant for the French National Team and ASVEL, and a former youth coach at Nanterre. “He adapted really quickly.Is Victor Wembanyama a point guard? ›
Wembanyama has the height of a center, the shooting touch of a wing and the passing ability of a point guard. His wingspan is nearly 8 feet and he can nearly grab the rim — 10 feet in the air — without even jumping.Why did the English language become so important? ›
English is the Language of International Communication
Although English is not the most spoken language in the world, it is the official language in 53 countries and is spoken as a first language by around 400 million people worldwide. But that's not all, it is also the most common second language in the world.
French sensation Victor Wembanyama will not attend the NBA draft combine later this month because his season is still in progress back at home. On Tuesday night the NBA released a list of 78 prospects who will attend the combine May 15-21 in Chicago, and Wembanyama's name did not appear on it.