San Antonio Spurs News

5 Silver and black linings to Spurs' first tank season since '96

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San Antonio Spurs
Victor Wembanyama / PHILIPPE DESMAZES/GettyImages

 1. The Spurs are all but guaranteed a phenomenal prospect

Rooting for losing goes against the entire philosophy of the Spurs organization over the last 20 years, but the first time they built a contender, it was founded on the heels of a monumental tank. Generational players like Tim Duncan don't fall off trees—they garner national attention while fans and pundits alike cast grandiose expectations on men so young they can't legally drink a beer.

This year is a little bit different. Basketball's global acceleration, monetary eruption, and the fervor of its fandom have made hoop dreams as enticing of a route as any other professional sport. The talent pool is deeper than ever and with that, top lottery picks have become closer to shooting fish in a barrel than a crapshoot in the dark.

The grand prize of Tankapalooza 2K23 is undoubtedly Victor Webanyama, the NBA 2K MyPlayer that came to life. Standing at 7-foot-3, Wembanyama already displays otherworldly rim protection and mobility with outlandish offensive skill and touch. Any team who's lucky enough to land him will pop champagne and jump for joy in their war room, but lurking behind him is the Ja Morant to his Zion Williamson.

G League Ignite wing Scoot Henderson offers show-stopping scoring ability and maybe the quickest first step you've ever seen. He jumps out of the gym as quickly as he runs the floor with genuine first-option potential as a scorer. Behind them is any combination of Overtime Elite's Thompson Twins, Villanova's Cam Whitmore, Duke's Dariq Whitehead, Arkansas' Nick Smith Jr. and whichever up-and-comers are sure to break out between now and next June.

The point is, losing sucks until you end up with a player who transforms your franchise's context like Duncan did so long ago. For a small-market NBA team, finding the star talent required to compete for a championship is nearly impossible without a full-blown rebuild and a sprinkle of luck. What sets San Antonio apart from the average tanking team is its world-class development program and an excellent track record of nailing draft picks.

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It won't always be easy to watch, but the San Antonio Spurs have ultimately selected a path they believe will raise them back to glory, so strap in and enjoy the ride.