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3 teams who would benefit most from winning the NBA lottery

We’re less than a week away from the NBA lottery, and the stakes are higher than ever heading into Tuesday’s draft event with 7-foot-2 generational talent Victor Wembanyama viewed as the top prize.

But there’s nothing organizations can do at this point. All 30 teams have played their 82 regular season schedule, so now it’s up to the lottery balls to decide their fate. We’ve seen it time and time again. Just because a team has the best NBA Draft lottery odds, it doesn’t necessarily mean they automatically win the top pick.

Naturally, the teams who are not already expected to have a top-three pick are hoping the basketball gods swing the odds in their favor. But each of the Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, and San Antonio Spurs all have the same chances at landing the top pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

After proving to be three of the worst teams in basketball, are they the best fits for Wembanyama, or would another team benefit even more from landing the No. 1 pick this summer? Down below we highlight three NBA franchises that could take the biggest leap, all by getting lucky in the NBA lottery.

Portland Trail Blazers find their new face of the franchise

NBA: G League-Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans at Ignite
Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time Damian Lillard’s loyalty with the Portland Trail Blazers gets rewarded. The face of the franchise has played 12 seasons with the Blazers yet has only been to the Western Conference Finals once and has missed the postseason each of the past two years. Something needs to change in Portland before Lillard, who turns 33 in July, wants out or starts making demands in an effort to become a team ready to win now.

What better way to rapidly alter the team’s course than by landing possibly the most talented NBA prospect the basketball community has seen since LeBron James? Wembanyama wouldn’t be asked to immediately shoulder the scoring load or even be a leader in his first season, but his mere presence could be the best way to dramatically change Portland’s franchise outlook for good.

Related: NBA mock draft 2023: Complete Rounds 1-2 predictions ahead of the NBA Draft lottery

Charlotte Hornets get LaMelo Ball help via the NBA lottery

Feb 15, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (1) stands on the court during the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at Spectrum Center. The Charlotte Hornets won 120-110. Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

The Charlotte Hornets were an absolute mess last season. Not only did they go the entire year without Miles Bridges, the team’s leading scorer from 2022 for the entire season, but their best player, LaMelo Ball, was limited to just 36 games after dealing with various injuries, including a fractured ankle.

This is a roster that is in desperate need of one of their recent lotto picks quickly developing into a valued contributor. Kai Jones, the 19th pick in 2021, has yet to start a game in the NBA, and Mark Williams, the 15th pick from 2022, may be the long-term starting center, but he’s not keeping opponents up at night.

Wemby, on the other hand, when combined with Ball’s lethal court vision and ability to distribute the ball into even the smallest of windows, could be a dynamic duo many around the NBA rival. Even without Bridges returning to Charlotte, the Hornets would once again suddenly have one of the brightest futures in basketball.

Related: NBA playoff predictions: Bracket picks & 2023 Finals champion

San Antonio Spurs find their next superstar

NBA: San Antonio Spurs vs Minesota Timberwolves
Austin American-Statesman-USA TODAY NETWORK

Perhaps no other team in the NBA would benefit more from landing the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft lottery than the San Antonio Spurs. This is a roster that has been absolutely gutted from head to toe last offseason with the trade of Dejounte Murray. There isn’t a single player on the team who is capable of becoming the face of the franchise.

Barring landing the No. 1, or No. 2 pick, the Spurs may still not find their championship cornerstone or a player who can someday follow in the footsteps of David Robinson and Tim Duncan. But Wembanyama surely could.

The Spurs would immediately have a franchise vision and it would be pretty simple: Build around Victor Wembanyama. It’s one coach Gregg Popovich has gone through before, with two other Hall of Fame bigs, and perhaps with his tutelage, Wembanyama can be the next towering prospect who develops into a superstar.

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