With two recent sizzling performances by projected number-one NBA draft pick Victor Wembanyama, it’s clear that he’s the best NBA draft prospect in the last 20 years, possibly ever. A 7’4 center who can attack off the dribble, nail threes, defend on the perimeter, and shut down the paint with his rim protection, all make him the perfect player to build around.
Of course, only one of the NBA’s 30 teams can end up with Wembanyama. Actually, only about five teams, since the five worst records get anywhere from a 10%-14% chance of selecting him. With such low odds, teams should have a contingency plan and some already do. Therefore, let’s look at the four teams that can land Wembanyama without winning the NBA draft lottery
NBA Team #1: Oklahoma City Thunder
While the Oklahoma City Thunder might be seen as the favorites to land the number one pick and select Wembanyama, that’s probably not the case. They may not be nearly as bad as the San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic, and possibly even the Houston Rockets. If they end up with the fourth-worst record, then they’d have just a 12.5% chance of landing the number one pick and a 10% chance if they finish fifth, not exactly great odds.
Assuming they do, then they could pivot to plan B and try to trade their way to the top of the NBA draft. They’ve been collecting picks like stamps for a reason, and they could make some poor team lose sleep by having to decide between Wembanyama and the fourth or fifth pick as well as, say, five other first-rounders. Not good enough?
How about seven? The Thunder could do that without breaking a sweat or their draft pick piggy bank. Even then, a team might say no, but it’s not exactly impossible, and don’t put it past Sam Presti to do it.