2023 NBA Draft Lottery results: Spurs win top pick, right to select Victor Wembanyama; No. 2 goes to Hornets
San Antonio won Tuesday's NBA Draft Lottery and the right to pick a potential star in Wembanyama
CHICAGO — The San Antonio Spurs are the victors of the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes after a dramatic reveal at the 2023 Draft Lottery on Tuesday saw them convert their 14% odds -- tied for the best with Houston and Detroit -- into the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. San Antonio secured the top overall pick for a third time in franchise history, giving the franchise a chance once again to reset -- as they did with David Robinson in 1987 and with Tim Duncan in 1997 -- around a big man viewed as a generational prospect.
The Charlotte Hornets moved up two spots and won the second overall pick in the draft, while the Portland Trail Blazers moved up to the No. 3 pick. The Houston Rockets fell to the fourth pick and the Detroit Pistons, in a stunner, fell all the way to No. 5.
NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum announced the results inside the W375e ballroom in the sprawling McCormick Place event center to chaotic reactions across the room. Much of the lottery order as it was revealed in countdown style -- from No. 14 to No. 1 -- held true to form based on pre-lottery statistical odds. That was until Detroit, which had tied for the best odds of winning the No. 1 pick, fell all the way to No. 5. Houston fell two spots from its pre-lottery position to No. 4, while Portland, Charlotte and San Antonio all moved up two spots each.
The Spurs have won the No. 1 pick in the lottery two previous times and both times they made picks that paid off for decades. In Robinson and Duncan, the franchise secured pillars who helped them win five NBA championships under Gregg Popovich.
Here are three takeaways from a momentous night at the NBA Draft Lottery
Smiles all around for Spurs
Peter John Holt, the on-stage lottery representative for the Spurs and the chairman of Spurs Sports & Entertainment, was all smiles as he sat on stage awaiting his franchise's fate Tuesday. He then quickly let loose and broke into an outburst of elation as the Hornets were revealed to be the owners of the No. 2 pick, giving by process of elimination the Spurs the top overall pick.
"LET'S GO!" he shouted, slamming his fist on his dais as NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum announced the Hornets pick. "WHOOOOOO! LET'S GO!!"
Winning the rights to draft a potential superstar talent in Wembanyama elicited euphoria from Holt and the entire Spurs brass in attendance was right along with him. General manager Brian Wright (second from left below) and former GM R.C. Buford (far left below), now CEO, couldn't help but grin ear to ear on stage as they posed for pictures afterwards.
"We've got six weeks, so we've got a lot of work to do," said Wright, tongue firmly planted in cheek, to the media on who the team will pick after winning the No. 1 pick.
"Lot of analysis," Holt quipped with a grin.
Pistons punched in the gut
No team had a worse night at the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery than the Detroit Pistons. Poised to potentially secure a generational talent in Wembanyama to pair next to former No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham and last year's No. 5 overall pick, Jaden Ivey, Detroit instead fell four spots -- to the No. 5 pick -- a more precipitous fall than any team in the lottery from pre-event to post-event.
The Pistons will have a good chance to add a foundational piece to pair with Cunningham and Ivey at No. 5 -- (can I talk ya in to Cam Whitmore or Jarace Walker, Pistons fans?!) -- but the drop-off from whomever they get at No. 5 vs. who they could have got at the top is a stunning sliding doors development that might haunt Detroit fans for many, many years.
Who goes No. 2 getting clearer
-- between Scoot Henderson and Brandon Miller -- would come down to whichever team won the pick and how that respective team's roster construction stands. That appeared to be further clarified Tuesday with the Hornets getting the No. 2 pick and the Trail Blazers getting No. 3. With a lead guard already in place with the Hornets in superstar LaMelo Ball, Miller seems the more likely pick at No. 2 now as a seamless fit next to him. To steal a cliche from Wright: there's still six weeks to go until the draft, so of course that line of thinking could change. But Henderson seems more likely to fall past No. 2 than he did before the night, and Miller now seems more likely to be in contention to be the No. 2.
NBA Draft Lottery results
|4||Houston||11||Orlando (from Chicago)|
|5||Detroit||12|| Oklahoma City|
|7||Indiana||14|| New Orleans|