Wembanyama Mania

The San Antonio Spurs won the lottery, and the jackpot looks historically big.

The impressive Victor Wembanyama who plays in a French pro hoops league has long been the consensus #1 pick for whoever would have that pick, and it’s all but certain he’ll bring his 7’3 frame and reputed 8 foot wingspan to the AT&T Center.

Minutes after last night’s draft lottery awarded the first pick to SA, he told ESPN “I’m trying to win a ring ASAP…so be ready!”

He’s 19.

I’ve seen a little of him, and this ain’t just hype. He’s crazy-talented, high-basketball IQ,  and travels that trans-Atlantic pipeline that brought us Tony Parker and Boris Diau. So, there’s that.

Of course, anything can happen.

Sportscasters have been quick to point out that the previous occasions when the Spurs chose first, they came home with David Robinson (Navy) in ’87 and Tim Duncan (Wake Forest U.) a decade later. As a result, starting in 1999, the team went from fighting for a new arena to racking up a run of banners to hang in that new arena.

I do need to point out, though, that when Duncan came in to form the vaunted “Twin Towers” with the Admiral, he had big help from people like Avery Johnson and Sean Elliott. It was a strong supporting cast of role players, to be sure. There are no AJs or Elliotts in the current locker room and we all know that.

Still, Wemby, or as I’ll be calling him, “Napoleon Dynamite”, might be the start of another run…or he might, at least, make the Spurs relevant and competitive again. He may also be a magnet for free agents looking to collaborate with him.

SA is more fun when the Spurs are interesting, so I’m going to roll with that and we’ll see what happens.

More about: