Don't look now, but the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery is only days away, and anticipation is quickly growing to see which team will walk away as the winners of the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. The San Antonio Spurs, being one of the bottom-three teams in the league, have the highest chances of landing Wembanyama along with the Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons.
It's been about a month since we released our first mock draft of the season, which served more as an introduction to the class' top prospects than a prediction of the actual outcome of the draft. But with the lottery approaching, we decided to take a slightly different approach for our second mock draft. While the draft order in our first version was based on league standings rather than a lottery simulation, we ran a Tankathon simulation to get our draft order this time around.
While we took a player-first approach to our first mock draft, aiming to primarily introduce people to players and their skill sets, this time around, we're bringing team context into the fold when we give our reasoning for each pick. Although we talk more about team context this time, our approach to each selection remains the same: pick the best available players first and figure out team fit later, unless a team's past drafts suggest they'll take a different approach, which we'll specify when appropriate.
With all that in mind, let's get the Air Alamo NBA Mock Draft 2.0 started.
We’ll be talking more about Victor Wembanyama in the coming days before the NBA Draft Lottery, but if there’s anything about him that makes him a truly one-of-one player in his draft class, let alone many drafts before him, it’s that he defies the concept of both team fit and context. Will some NBA teams have lingering longevity/injury concerns? Sure, but unless damning information is revealed during the draft process regarding his health, there will not be an NBA front office that will pass up on him at #1 overall.
Wembanyama has the chance to be a generational rim-protecting prospect that has an unprecedented amount of isolation moves in his bag as a 7’5” center. When I say that he’s a prospect nobody has seen before, that is not hyperbole. He’ll need to turn his playmaking flashes into a consistent tool in his bag, and ideally, he’ll improve his efficiency as a shooter from three. But his ceiling is so astronomically high that any team, regardless of their core’s timeline, ambiguity about team fit, concerns over Wembanyama’s health, etc., will not pass on him. In this case, though, he’ll slot in perfectly in Charlotte’s lineup.