"If a player is fated to become a great player; no matter the place he finds himself in, that will be the best." French-Congolese Victor Wembanyama is not worried at all as the NBA draft lottery looms. In a few days, the 2.2-meter giant will discover the team for which he'll play in the world's top basketball league.
Who will be the chosen? The NBA draft lottery has offered teams a quick path from bad to good for nearly four decades. The stakes this year are unusually high with French Congolese phenom Victor Wembanyama the top prospect.s
Top scorer (21.5 pts on average), rebounder (9.9) and counter-attacker (3.1) of the French championship, Victor Wembanyama has been presented as one of the greatest prospects of the world basketball for several years.
The 19-year-old will know more about his probable future destination on May 16 at the end of the draw between the 14 teams that have not qualified this season for the NBA play-offs.
A QUICK NBA DRAFT LOTTERY HISTORY:
The lottery format has undergone a few changes since the New York Knicks won the first one in 1985, when there were seven teams.
There are twice as many lottery teams now, all hoping, like the Knicks did when they drafted Patrick Ewing, to have luck strike at the right time and land the player who can turn around a franchise.
The Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets and Spurs all have a 14% chance of getting him, but there will be 14 teams at the McCormick Place Convention Center that have hopes.
WHEN AND HOW WILL THE ANNOUNCEMENT BE MADE?
The league will hold this year’s lottery Tuesday night (May 16) in Chicago, with the winner getting the No. 1 pick and the chance to draft Victor Wembanyama. He is considered the best prospect in years — perhaps since LeBron James went No. 1 20 years ago. The lottery telecast begins at 8 p.m. EST on ESPN and during the televised portion, Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum opens envelopes that reveal the draft order. Neither he nor any of the representatives on stage will know the results until then.
WILL WEMBANYAMA BE AT THE LOTTERY?
The most coveted prospect in this year's draft will not be there. Wembanyama plays his last regular-season game for his pro team in France on Tuesday, a few hours before the lottery.
All the teams that missed the postseason are in the Wembanyama Sweepstakes. In addition to Houston, Detroit, and San Antonio, the list includes Charlotte, Portland, Orlando, Indiana, Washington, Utah, Dallas, Chicago, Oklahoma City, Toronto and New Orleans.
WHICH TEAM HAS THE BEST ODDS TO WIN?
The order of choice of the teams for the draft will be known before the D day. Detroit, San Antonio and Houston, who have the worst record of the season. The worst team did have the best odds until a few years ago with a 25% chance of winning the No. 1 pick from 1994-2018. Now the teams with the three worst records all have a 14% chance.
JOIN THE SPURS TO WALK IN TP'S FOOTSTEPS
The time when San Antonio dominated the League, winning 4 championship rings under Tony Parker, is long gone. Mired at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, the Spurs and their mythical coach Gregg Popovitch could eye a new romance "à la Française". Victor Wembanyama could be fitted match for a team in reconstruction which is used to enabling foreign players to reach their full potential.
THE BOBCATS FOR THE MJ HERITAGE
What better way to get in than to join the franchise of the best player of all time, Michael Jordan? Charlotte's owner knows that his team needs a talented addition to the squad because All-Star LaMelo Ball now has to take on nearly all the responsibilities at the risk of diluting his talent as a point guard. 14th in the East, Nicolas Batum's former team has little chance of winning the big prize.
JOIN THE PACERS FOR A DEADLY DUO
In Indiana, the star of the moment is Tyrese Haliburton. An outstanding 23-year-old passer (10.4 assists on average this year) who dreams of having a player capable of receiving his balls. Despite some nice outings, the Pacers have never been able to get out of the bottom of the regular season (35-47).
WHAT ABOUT BEING THE ROKETS' STAR?
Since James Harden left the franchise two years ago, Houston is looking for a figurehead. The rockets have failed to land at the top of the Western Conference rankings. Yet the Texan team has repeatedly counted on the giants of the game. No one has forgotten the performances of Ralph Sampson in the 80s or more recently those of Chinese Yao Ming.
After a catastrophic season (22 wins, 60 losses), the Rockets have named their new coach: Ime Udoka who's coming from Boston will replace Stephen Silas. The demanding coach is renowned for his ability to galvanize his men. He ended his first season as head coach by leading the Celtics to the championship final last year, which they eventually lost to Golden State (4-2).
JOINING THE MAVS FOR A HANDOVER OF POWER
The Wembanyama fever which has taken over the whole of United States for several months now is reminiscent of the country's infatuation with another European talent a few years ago. Slovenian Luka Doncic is shining in Dallas but is still looking for a mate. Forming a duo with the Frenchman would be a monumental attraction for the NBA.