Where SHOULD Victor Wembanyama End Up?
The NBA Draft Lottery is just about upon us, and it’ll be must-watch. Indeed, for the second time in about a week, we’ll see a team win the right to draft a potentially franchise-altering talent.
Last week, of course, the Blackhawks won the NHL Draft Lottery (and the chance to draft 17-year-old sensation, Connor Bedard). Now, it’s the NBA’s turn with Victor Wembanyama — the 19-year-old, 7’5″ French sensation — as the top prize.
Obviously, in the lottery, certain teams have better odds than others. In all likelihood, Wembanyama ends up with either Detroit, San Antonio, or Houston, who all have a 14% chance to win the lottery. But what I want to talk about is who SHOULD get Wembanyama. As in, which team would be the most fun adding the French unicorn to their roster? Let’s talk about a few spots.
Chicago Bulls (3% chance)
Well, obviously I’m starting here. Can the Bulls complete the Chicago Trinity and become the third Chicago franchise to get the #1 pick in their respective drafts this season? It would take a great stroke of luck, but stranger things have happened (remember, the Bulls had a 1.7% chance to land Derrick Rose). It’s very unlikely to happen, but we can dream, can’t we? The Bulls have been missing a bonafide, legitimate number-one guy since prime Derrick Rose, and even that only lasted a short time before injuries caught up. Adding Wembanyama to play alongside LaVine would not only be awesome to watch, but it would give the Bulls’ front office so many different ways to approach this offseason. I just won’t let myself get my hopes up.
Portland Trail Blazers (10.5% chance)
Portland owns the fifth-best chance to land Victor Wembanyama, so a much better chance than our Bulls. It’s about time Damian Lillard gets the chance to play with a legitimate running mate and not a crew he’s forced to carry night in and night out. C.J. McCollum was a really nice piece, but Portland was never going anywhere with him as Lillard’s number two. Dame has remained loyal to Portland and he wants to win there. He’s one of the game’s elite scorers and deserves the chance to make a run at an NBA title in Portland. I’d love to see Wembanyama land there and set the wheels in motion for a Blazers turnaround. Oh, also, this keeps him nowhere near the Bulls on a regular basis which is also a win.
San Antonio Spurs (14% chance)
So there may be some debate over whether or not the Spurs should be rewarded with Wembanyama. They very clearly tanked this year with that goal in mind. That said, the Spurs have a history of doing great things with generational big men. They have a ton of cap space and one of the game’s best coaches who’s getting up there in age. Winning the lottery could spark an aggressive rebuild and get the Spurs interesting sooner than later. San Antonio has also proven to be an organization that won’t waste the star Frenchman’s talent. Over the last two decades, when they’ve had star talent they’ve proven they can win. Whether or not his body holds up throughout an NBA season and career remains to be seen, but if it does there are arguably not many better franchises for a player to land than San Antonio. And like mentioned above, send Wemby out west, please!
Orlando Magic (9%)
Yes, I know they got the first pick last year. Paolo Banchero was the number one pick to Orlando last season and had a phenomenal first season grabbing NBA Rookie of the Year. The Magic had the first overall pick three times in franchise history prior to last season. Those picks have been Shaquille O’Neill (1992), Chris Webber turned into Penny Hardaway (1993), and Dwight Howard (2004). All of those players led the Magic to NBA Finals appearances where the Magic would come up short. Shaq and Howard eventually left for the Lakers and Penny Hardaway couldn’t stay healthy. Adding Wembanyama to the young core led by Banchero and Franz Wagner could make Orlando a contender in the East sooner than later, and would make them a really fun team to watch. Maybe part of me feels bad the Magic have come so close with these top picks but been left at the altar in the end, but I wouldn’t hate seeing this group get another chance.
Oklahoma City Thunder (1.7%)
Does anyone remember a team that won the NBA Draft Lottery with a 1.7% chance before? Sure the odds are slim for OKC, but the Bulls showed in the past that a 1.7% can win you the lottery. The Thunder exceeded expectations last season and have a really fun, young core led by a budding superstar in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Put Wembanyama on that roster alongside Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Lu Dory, Jalen Williams, and the returning Chet Holmgren and you have an incredibly fun group with a high-ceiling. Plus, just seeing a pair of slim reapers in Holmgren and Wembanyama play alongside together sounds too entertaining to pass up.
Where Will Should Wembanyama Land?
Every team and fanbase in the lottery Tuesday night wants to land Victor Wembanyama. Wherever he ends up, he’ll bring a ton of buzz and excitement to next season. Obviously, these teams are the ones I’d be most intrigued to see. Where would you like to see him land (outside of the Bulls, of course). The NBA Draft Lottery takes place Tuesday, May 16th at 7:00 pm central time.