San Antonio Spurs won – yesterday, Tuesday – the right to make the first choice in the selection of the NBA “Draft” scheduled for next month, giving him the preference to include the promising and extraordinary French youth, Victor Wimpanyama.
Spurs, who finished the regular season at the bottom of the western region with a record of 22-60, were chosen first in the “Draft” drawing, which decides who will have the first choice in New York on June 22.
Barring a big and unexpected surprise, the 19-year-old will be the first choice.
Many see the 2.21-meter-long young man, who is a professional in the “Metropolitans 92” team in France, as a unique and extraordinary talent that is not repeated in a generation except once, so he is the most wanted as a first choice in the draft since LeBron James in 2003.
Wimpanyama is expected to follow in the footsteps of his compatriot Tony Parker, who won the Spurs the American League title 4 times between 2003 and 2014.
“I can’t describe it, my heart is beating (quickly),” Wimbanyama told ESPN in an interview from Paris, after learning of the team he is likely to join. Surrounding myself with the people I love, it really is a special moment for me that I will remember for the rest of my life.”
He added that he intends to make a quick start in the “NBA,” and continued, “I am a team player, and I will do my best to win as many matches as possible. I will try to win the (championship) ring as soon as possible, so be prepared.”
In turn, Peter Guy Holt, Director of Sports and Recreation at the club, said – after the draw – “I fainted. I’m so excited for San Antonio, for the fans, we have a lot of Spurs fans.”
LeBron James was among a group of Wimbanyama fans, describing him as not “one of a kind” but “alien”, adding, “You’ve never seen someone so tall, so agile and so agile on the court.” He is definitely a once-in-a-generation talent.”
Spurs general manager Brian Wright said, “People talk about generational talent, and they only think about skill on the field, but it’s more than that. His ability to be a great teammate, to think about the game, to challenge uniquely, to see him do things you wouldn’t even have thought someone could do.”
By law, the 14 teams that failed to qualify for the knockout rounds entered a draw for a chance to get the best choice.
Four years ago, the team with the worst record in the regular season had the strongest chances of getting first choice.
But the rules of the draw were amended in 2019 to balance the odds, in an effort to deter teams from deliberately losing out to claim the privilege.
San Antonio, Houston Rockets, and Detroit Pistons entered the draw with a similar 14 percent chance of winning.
But the Rockets came fourth and the Pistons fifth, while the Charlotte Hornets will get the second option and the Portland Trail Blazers will get the third.