What to expect from the 2023 NBA Draft’s No. 1 pick, Victor Wembanyama’s competition

The Boston Celtics (20-5) top the Eastern Conference while the Phoenix Suns (16-8) currently have the best record in the Western Conference. There will be more focus on which teams are the worst in the NBA this season, with a June rookie class headed by generational talent Victor Wembanyama entering the league.

It’s still a long NBA season and a lot can happen, but whether it’s through a young team’s rebuilding process, injuries or the sale of franchise talent last summer, a handful of teams are already well positioned, with a 14% Chance to get the first pick on the night of the draw on May 16th.

As the race to the bottom begins, Yahoo Sports takes a look at the seven teams that could land at Wembanyama next June and how they might start the season.

(Records as of Dec. 5 game; odds of first pick tank marathon.)

How does the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft and the right to select Victor Wembanyama play out over a quarter of the way through the 2022-23 NBA season? (Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Current record: 5-20

Odds of getting first pick: 14%

The Magic are in rebuilding mode. They selected former Duke forward Paul Banchero with the No. 1 pick in the 2022 draft. The year before, they had signed point guard Jalen Suggs with the fifth pick and wing Franz Wagner with the eighth pick. They haven’t won since the 2018-19 season.

The Magic may not win a lot of games, but they are an interesting team to watch, starting with 7-foot-2 Bol Bol, 6-11 Mo Wagner, 6-10 Banchero, 6-10 Franz Wagner and 6-10 -4 Markelle Fultz. Adding 7-4 Wembanyama to this young squad could be a dream scenario. Size and length are unmatched in the Eastern Conference.

The Magic are 1-10 in their past 11 games and currently have six players out with injuries: Suggs (ankle), Gary Harris (hamstring), Chuma Ocock (knee), Moban Ba (back), Wendell Carter Jr. (foot) and Jonathan Isaac (knee).

Current record: 6-19

Odds of getting first pick: 14%

The Pistons are rebuilding around 2021 No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham and adding a talented guard to join him in the backcourt alongside 2022 No. 1 pick Jaden Ivey. Unfortunately, Cunningham is sidelined with a tibia injury and could undergo surgery this season.

“It’s up to the medical team and Cade and whatever is best for his health,” head coach Dwane Casey said. “I’m giving it my all. No matter what he decides to do, I’m behind him 100 percent.”

The Pistons have a record of 3 wins and 7 losses in the past 10 games, and only won 3 games in November. If Cunningham decides to undergo surgery and miss the rest of the season, the Pistons could hold the edge in signing Winbanyama. The Pistons haven’t advanced to the first round of the playoffs since the 2007-08 season and have made the playoffs just twice in the past 10 years.

Current record: 6-18

Odds of getting first pick: 14%

The Spurs made some moves in the offseason to be in a good position to sign Winbanyama. The organization went into rebuild mode, trading All-Star guard Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks and adding Jeremy Sochan, Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley, all 19 years old, in the 2022 draft.

The young Spurs got off to a hot start to the season with a 5-2 record, but have since calmed down. The San Antonio Spurs have won just one of their past 12 games, and the injury-plagued Spurs are not even head coach Gregg Popovich, who is recovering from minor surgery. Sochan (quads), Wesley (knee), Doug McDermott (ankle), Romeo Langford (ankle), Jakob Poeltl (knee) and Josh Richardson (ankle) are all currently out for the Spurs.

The Spurs have always been considered an organization that has done a good job developing young talent, and Wembanyama, a coach and guide who entered the league with Hall of Famer Gregg Popovich, deserves a painful season ahead of the 2023 draft.

Current record: 7-17

Odds of getting first pick: 11.5%

This is the Rockets’ third rebuilding season after trading Russell Westbrook in December 2020 and James Harden in January 2021. Unlike the injury-plagued Spurs and Thunder, the Rockets have only one player missing, winger Jason Tate.

The Rockets are young and promising, Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. lead the scoring list. Houston lacks the size and experience of rookie Jabari Smith and second-year center Alperensengan in the frontcourt. The Rockets would love to add Wembanyama to this young core next season, potentially turning things around.

Current record: 7-17

Odds of getting first pick: 11.5%

The Hornets are a dark horse in the race for bottom of the pack, still without star point guard LaMelo Ball, who was injured again after stepping on a fan’s foot on Nov. 16. Gordon Hayward, who is averaging 15.9 points and 3.6 assists this season, is also out indefinitely after fracturing his shoulder.

Charlotte topped .500 last season for the first time since 2015-16 and appears to be turning things around. The Hornets have started the season with a string of injuries and currently have five players out: Ball (ankle), Hayward (shoulder), Dennis Smith Jr. (ankle), Mark Williams (ankle) and Cody Martin (knee).

Current record: 11-13

Odds of getting first pick: 3.8%

General manager Sam Presti knew what he was doing when he made 14 trades and offloaded star players in 2019-20, amassing 38 draft picks for the next seven years. Over the past two drafts, the Thunder have added Josh Giddy, Alexei Pokusevski, Treyman, Jeremiah Robinson-Earle, Chet Holmgren, Jalen Williams and Jaylin Williams.

The Thunder were looking to turn things around after winning a total of 46 games over the first two seasons, but the bad news came in the offseason when No. Season-ending foot injury. OKC fans were forced to wait patiently for another year in hopes of getting another talented rookie in the draft.

Wembanyama and Holmgren go head-to-head during the FIBA ​​Under-19 World Cup in July 2021. Homgren and Team USA prevailed, but Wembanyama was the most promising player on the floor with 22 points, 8 rebounds and 8 blocks. Adding 7-1 Holmgren and 7-foot Pokusevski to the frontcourt will be the final piece in the Thunder’s rebuilding puzzle.

honor award

Current record: 15-8

Odds of getting the No. 1 pick (from the Lakers): 7.5%

The Pelicans are in a unique situation this season, and it doesn’t matter what their record is or whether they make the playoffs. Pelicans fans will be paying more attention to the Los Angeles Lakers’ pre-draft record thanks to the Anthony Davis trade, with Los Angeles’ pick going to New Orleans. The Lakers started the season as one of the worst teams in the league, but they played a series of good games, winning 8 of 10 games. Had the lottery been drawn today, the Pelicans had a 7.5 percent chance of signing Wembanyama. tank marathon. The more games the Lakers lose, the closer the Pelicans get to adding a skilled Wembanyama next to 2019 No. 1 pick Zion Williamson.

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