NBA Draft Lottery: Spurs Get No. 1 Pick and Right to Select Wembanyama

Wembanyama, in an interview from France, told ESPN: “My heart is beating. I got everyone I love, everyone I know around me. It’s really a special moment I’m going to remember for the rest of my life.”

A 7-foot-3 center with an eight-foot wingspan, Wembanyama can handle the ball and shoot like a guard. He plays for Metropolitans 92, a professional French league team, where he is averaging 21.6 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. The N.B.A. G League hosted his team for a two-game exhibition near Las Vegas in October, and the N.B.A. has broadcast some of his games. The hype about him rivals that surrounding James in 2003, when the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted him No. 1 overall out of high school.

He clearly, you know, appears to be a generational talent,” N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver said on ESPN before the lottery. “And, you know, there’s lots of other examples of generational talents who come in this league who’ve met expectations and some who haven’t. But I have no reason to believe he won’t.”

Wembanyama is certainly not the only potentially franchise-altering prospect available in this year’s draft, set for June 22 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Scoot Henderson, a 19-year-old guard who played for the G League Ignite and faced Wembanyama in the October exhibitions, is widely expected to be drafted at No. 2 overall. Henderson averaged 16.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists in 19 games with the Ignite this season.

For the Spurs, this is the third time they have won the lottery. In 1997, they used the No. 1 pick to select Tim Duncan, who became one of the best big men in N.B.A. history. Ten years before, they also picked a big man in David Robinson, a 10-time All-Star. Both players are in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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