The 2023 NBA Draft is right around the corner, and while everyone is excited to see which picks the their favorite team will receive after another 82-game regular season, some humbling facts about the lottery should keep San Antonio Spurs fans down to earth.
1: Having the best odds far from guarantees the first pick
In the four years since the NBA flattened the odds in the draft and gave the bottom three teams in the league an equal 14% chance of winning the lottery, the club with the worst record has never secured the first overall pick. The team with the second-worst record has won the lottery in back-to-back years. The third-worst club hit the jackpot in 2020. And the New Orleans Pelicans got to choose Zion Williamson despite having the seventh-worst record in 2019.
With this in mind, the Spurs should have a strategy prepared just in case they don't win the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes to continue improving their roster via trades and signings to improve after a horrible season.
2: Top picks rarely win championships with original team
Since 1992, only six of the 150 top-five picks have achieved championship glory with the franchise that originally drafted them. In all of these cases, they needed a superstar sidekick or a preexisting infrastructure to find success.
This list is home to Tim Duncan, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Darko Milicic, and James Wiseman. Although Duncan was the leader of several championship charges, he needed partners in crime like Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and David Robinson. Wade teamed up with Shaq and LeBron at separate stages of his career, Kyrie and LeBron partnered up in Cleveland, and Darko Milicic and James Wiseman were lucky enough to be part of the 2004 Pistons and 2022 Warriors.
The Spurs should know that even if they get Victor Wembanyama or Scoot Henderson, they must develop a suitable supporting cast around them to help them get to the top of their game. If they can't build a competitive roster and keep them happy, their brand-new star could eventually take his talent to another city.