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3 reasons why Victor Wembanyama will be San Antonio Spurs franchise cornerstone

Winning the NBA draft lottery this season may have been the same end result in a team landing the No. 1 pick, but being that it means securing Victor Wembanyama, the lotto luck feels much bigger for the San Antonio Spurs.

Coming into the event tied with the best odds to win after finishing with the third-worst record in the NBA, the Spurs were as desperate as any other team and in their case, were searching for a new identity.

The moment the Spurs announce Wembanyama as their pick, the lanky Frenchman will immediately become a franchise cornerstone for a number of reasons. Here are a few of them.

Related: NBA Draft rumors: Latest information leading up to the 2023 event

Wembanyama’s marketability is unmatched

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Despite growing up in Le Chesnay, France, the basketball community has been keeping track of Wembanyama for many years as a likely No. 1 pick. A player who now stands roughly 7-foot-3, who can shoot from distance just as smoothly as he can block a shot at the rim, how could NBA scouts not be enamored with his skills?

Wembanyama won’t just have plenty of eyes on him in his stateside career, he’ll also be bringing millions of European basketball fanatics who have watched him play for the Metropolitans 92 team in the EuroLeague or represent France in FIBA national play.

Naturally, any time a No. 1 pick makes his debut, spectators will already be curious to see how they fare transitioning to the pros. For Wembanyama, who’s viewed as possibly the best basketball prospect since LeBron James, the hype will be much greater than most top picks.

That hype will take on a life of its own on the court, but even before the 19-year-old puts on a Spurs uniform, he’ll likely be featured in advertisements and TV commercials because who wouldn’t want to be the first one to partner with possibly the NBA’s next superstar?

Related: Top 2023 NBA free agents: Best 100 available with positional breakdowns

NBA’s No. 1 overall pick has a chance to be an instant star

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Why was this year’s lottery one of the biggest in NBA history? Because Wembanyama is not your average basketball prospect. As LeBron James once noted, Wemby is more like “an alien,” while noting, “no one has ever seen anyone as tall as he is but as fluid and as graceful as he is out on the floor.”

When Wembanyama had a chance to take on the G League Ignite, which features Scoot Henderson, the eventual Spur averaged 36.5 points and 7.5 rebounds, plus 2.5 blocks across two games, showing he can hang with other top prospects. But dominating his opponents is a typical outcome for the generational prospect.

Playing in the LNB Pro A league (top-tier French league), Wembanyama took home several awards, including MVP (youngest player to do so), Best Scorer, Best Defender, Best Young Player, and Best Blocker, while averaging 21.6 PPG and 10.4 RPG. Leaping to the NBA is a different animal, but even with a slight frame, he’s given us no reason to think Wembanya won’t continue to excel once Gregg Popovich gets a chance to coach another highly-skilled big.

Victor Wembanyama is by far the Spurs’ top talent

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David Robinson, Tim Duncan, and now Victor Wembanyama. Coach Pop has been there for all three of the Spurs’ No. 1 overall picks. The first two developed into Hall of Fame talents. Victor Wembanyama is more talented than both of his predecessors.

So it’s no stretch to say that he’s also already the best player the Spurs have on their roster and better than anyone they could ever dream of acquiring, either in free agency or by trade. Look around the NBA, there isn’t another player who’s built like Wembanyama. You may see likenesses, but not all mashed together in one player.

Related: NBA mock draft 2023: Projecting all 58 picks

Wembanyama will be the team’s most skilled scorer, with an estimated eight-foot wingspan, he’ll also be the most intimidating defender. The sky is the limit for the Spurs rookie, but there’s no immediate expectation to win, or compete in San Antonio, but chances are, playing for Popovich, a turnaround could come quicker than we think.

After averaging 22 and 18 PPG, Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell have proven they can be complementary scorers on the wing, and Jeremy Sochan’s rookie season was promising, giving the Spurs a player willing to do the dirty work. Combine these young pieces with the Spurs having an abundance of cap space, and maybe San Antonio’s unusual four-year playoff drought will come to an end in the near future.

Related: 5 stars San Antonio Spurs could target with over $40M in cap space to play with Victor Wembanyama

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