Victor Wembanyama Oct 4, 2022; Henderson, NV, USA; Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 forward Victor Wembanyama (1) smiles after the game against the NBA G League Ignite at The Dollar Loan Center. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

The San Antonio Spurs are officially on the clock after winning Tuesday night’s NBA Draft Lottery, a distinction they last held in 1997.

That turned out alright for the Spurs, who would end up selecting future Hall-of-Famer Tim Duncan with the first overall pick in that year’s draft. Duncan would go on to win five titles, finishing his Spurs’ tenure as the franchise’s all-time leader in career points (26,496), field goals (10,285), blocks (3,020), and rebounds (15,091).

Dominant as Duncan was, we’ve never seen anything quite like French prodigy Victor Wembanyama, the most anticipated draft prospect since LeBron James. Gifted an overwhelming combination of length and athleticism, Wembanyama’s skill set is almost unprecedented for a player his size (seven-foot-three), leaving little doubt whose name will be the first one called when commissioner Adam Silver steps to the podium at Barclays Center next month.

You could do a lot worse than G League phenom Scoot Henderson and Alabama one-and-done Brandon Miller, but the real prize is Wembanyama, a readymade superstar capable of carrying an entire economy on his shoulders. Eager as fans are to finally see Wembanyama on an NBA hardwood, they weren’t thrilled to see him land with San Antonio, resenting the Spurs—arguably the most successful team of the 21st century—for having another generational talent fall in their lap.

Imagine being a Hornets or Pistons fan, tanking for years with little to show for it, only to see San Antonio crack the code on its first try.

The Spurs entered Tuesday with a 14-percent probability of pulling the winning lottery ball, the same odds as Houston (No. 4) and Detroit (No. 5).

While the league surely would have preferred Wembanyama wind up in a larger media market, San Antonio’s championship pedigree under coach Gregg Popovich makes for a compelling narrative, not that the 19-year-old needs any help becoming a hugely successful global icon.

About Jesse Pantuosco

Jesse Pantuosco joined Awful Announcing as a contributing writer in May 2023. He’s also written for Audacy and NBC Sports. A graduate of Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a master’s degree in creative writing from Fairfield University, Pantuosco has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. He lives in West Hartford, Connecticut and never misses a Red Sox, Celtics or Patriots game.