During the 2022-23 season, a few NBA teams decided to face the music and embrace the putridity in hopes of landing themselves in pole position in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. In the end, however, only one team would win the right to select him as the first overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft, and for the second time in 26 years, the San Antonio Spurs managed to land themselves the opportunity to draft a generational big man prospect.
Many analysts believed that this was a match made in heaven, as the Spurs franchise has a stellar track record when it comes to developing talent, especially those who come from overseas. And it certainly looks like landing with the Spurs was the best possible outcome for Wembanyama, especially if the 19-year old big man himself feels in San Antonio.
In a press conference days before the 2023 NBA Draft, Victor Wembanyama expressed how lucky he feels to inevitably land with Gregg Popovich and company.
“San Antonio is synonymous with winning. When the Spurs got the No. 1 pick, I was just thinking that they were lucky that they got the pick as a franchise that has that culture and the experience in winning,” Wembanyama said, via ClutchPoints Twitter.
"San Antonio is synonymous with winning. When the Spurs got the No. 1 pick, I was just thinking that they were lucky that they got the pick as a franchise that has that culture and the experience in winning."
— Victor Wembanyama
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 21, 2023
It's not hard to see where this sentiment is coming from. For 22 straight years, the Spurs made the playoffs, and for much of that span, they belonged in the upper echelon of the league. Thanks to the likes of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, as well as the Spurs' seemingly unending churn of quality role players, they remained as the league's preeminent role model for two decades.
In fact, had it not for Kawhi Leonard's desire for a trade in 2018, the Spurs would have remained contenders for years to come, as they managed to draft the likes of Derrick White and Dejounte Murray to supplement the Leonard-LaMarcus Aldridge core.
Nevertheless, after a few down years, the Spurs are on track to become one of the league's most feared teams once more, especially if Victor Wembanyama makes good on his potential as a two-way do-it all beast. And at this point, it's hard to doubt the Spurs' culture and its ability to bring out the best in the talented young Frenchman.