While most NBA fans focus on the teams that will have a shot at winning the world championship, there is another race this season that is very intriguing.
Many feel that a handful of teams will be tanking in order to receive the No. 1 pick in next June’s draft so that they can draft Victor Wembanyama, the 7-foot-2 French phenom who is being tabbed as the next potential transcendent player.
Victor Wembanyama helped Metropolitans 92 to a fourth straight win in France, over second place Blois, posting 17 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 blocks in yet another dominant two-way performance showing why he'll be the No. 1 pick in the draft this June. pic.twitter.com/0Ru53E1bM3
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) October 21, 2022
These two teams, in particular, could be the frontrunners to win that golden ticket that will make Wembanyama theirs in a year.
1. Orlando Magic
Paolo Banchero, the top pick in this year’s NBA Draft, is off to a good start, but other than him, the Magic are largely bereft of any real NBA-level talent.
Through five games, they rank 28th in points per game and offensive rating, and their defense isn’t that much better.
The Magic haven’t had a player with the type of potential Wembanyama seems to possess since they drafted Shaquille O’Neal in 1992.
The French native and Banchero could make for an interesting and fearsome duo in a few years if the Magic win the draft lottery next May.
2. Detroit Pistons
The Pistons are currently 1-4, and they rank towards the bottom of the league in both offense and defense.
They did trade for sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic just prior to training camp, but other than him, Detroit doesn’t have a lot going for it.
Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft, hasn’t shown a ton of growth, and that could pave the way for Wembanyama to be Motown-bound in 2023.