Race for Wembanyama: Where each team ranks halfway into the season

Victor Wembanyama (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)
Victor Wembanyama (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images) /
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Now that every team has played at least 41 games thus far, we are now officially halfway through the season. That also means that we are getting closer to one of the most anticipated NBA Drafts in league history. 7’4 French center Victor Wembanyama seems like a ready-made superstar and is widely expected to be the top pick in the 2023 NBA draft. In fact, teams are already angling to try and get their hands on him.

Of course, whether they can has a lot to do with league standings, and while there are 30 teams, there are only 14 teams with any kind of chance of winning the draft lottery. Moreover, there are only five teams with at least a 10% chance. While those may seem like slim odds, even a 10% chance at landing what some consider to be the greatest draft prospect ever is definitely worth it.

The no chance tier.

Boston Celtics

Denver Nuggets

Memphis Grizzlies

Brooklyn Nets

Milwaukee Bucks

Philadelphia 76ers

Cleveland Cavaliers

Los Angeles Lakers (pick swap with the New Orleans Pelicans)

Sacramento Kings

New York Knicks

Dallas Mavericks

Miami Heat

Indiana Pacers

Minnesota Timberwolves

LA Clippers

Golden State Warriors

With the NBA draft lottery limited to the 14 teams that miss the playoffs, these winners find themselves as spectators in the race for Wembanyama. All things considered, the lottery teams vying for Wembanyama are trying to be where some of the teams in this tier are. And if he is as good as most believe that he is, the team that drafts him could be a playoff team for the foreseeable future once he gets acclimated to the league.

There is one team, however, that would otherwise have a chance of landing the first overall pick. The New Orleans Pelicans have swap rights with the Los Angeles Lakers, and while the Lakers are playing much better of late, they may still miss the playoffs. That would give the team with the eighth-best record in the NBA a lottery pick and a small chance at selecting first in the 2023 NBA draft. That is something worth keeping an eye on.