San Antonio Spurs News

3 Worst-case scenarios Spurs hope to avoid in 2022-23

Jakob Poeltl, Dwight Powell
Jakob Poeltl, Dwight Powell / Tim Heitman/GettyImages
3 of 3
Next Slide

3. The Draft Lottery isn’t friendly 

In 1997, the Spurs were projected to pick third before the draft lottery, but lucked into the first overall pick and snagged Tim Duncan, the icon of the franchise who led them to five titles. If all went to plan, the Spurs would have ended up with Chauncey Billups, who was a great player, but not an all-time great like Duncan.

In a way, the Spurs are overdue to pay back the oddsmakers. In the same 1997 lottery, the league-worst Grizzlies tumbled all the way to the fourth pick. In 1992, the Wolves had the worst record by far and ended up picking third, missing out on Shaquille O’Neal and instead getting Christian Lattner, who never really blossomed into a star. 

The 2023 NBA Draft class has clear number one and two picks: Wembanyama and Henderson. If the Spurs fall out of the top two, they will still find talent, but not franchise-saving, immediate success talent. And that’s what the Spurs are gunning for. 

In a way, it’s rather beautiful that the worst-case scenario is beyond the player’s, coaching staff, or front office’s control. Instead, it will all come down to luck and ping pong balls. The Spurs could find an icon to lead the franchise on another dynastical run, or they could draft a good-but-not-great player who elevates the starting lineup enough to briefly make the team interesting, but not enough to alter the team long-term. 

Next. 1-Sentence expectations of all 20 Spurs on roster. dark

The upcoming season ought to be a make-or-break campaign for the franchise. If all goes well, the Spurs will have a young identity and promising star, but since that’s all based on luck, the Spurs could flounder and have to wait a few years to climb up the Western Conference ladder.