5 teams with the most to gain from 2023 NBA Draft

Victor Wembanyama, Utah Jazz (Photo by Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP) (Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images)
Victor Wembanyama, Utah Jazz (Photo by Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP) (Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs
Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images) /

San Antonio Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs are the obvious choice among teams with something to gain at the draft. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth amplifying after their lottery night coup.

This is what the franchise was envisioning last offseason, when it decided to punt on the 2022-23 season by trading away its best player, Dejounte Murray. That cleared the decks and allowed the Spurs to tank into a lofty position to get Wembanyama, a player that left several teams scrambling to the bottom.

It’s too soon to say if Wembanyama makes the Spurs a playoff team in Year 1. While he’s a hyped rookie, he’s still a rookie nonetheless. There will be an adjustment period for the French big man, although playing in a less scrutinized market should do him plenty of favors.

Still, it should be a good fit right away. The Spurs could instantly have one of the best defenses in the league, featuring Keldon Johnson, Tre Jones, Devin Vassell, and Jeremy Sochan. Wembanyama’s arrival should also allow Johnson to fall back to a second option on offense, a better role until he can find some consistency with his outside shot.

Drafting Wembanyama doesn’t only help the team in the present and future on the court. His mere presence could help the Spurs transition in the coaching ranks. Gregg Popovich is one of the all-time greats, one who could feasibly walk away at any point. What high-caliber coach wouldn’t want to coach a team on the rise with an unbelievable unicorn of a player?

There’s only one argument that the Spurs have nothing to gain during the NBA Draft – they already gained everything they could during the lottery.