Spurs Big Board 2.0: Big Changes After Winning the Victor Wembanyama Lottery

The San Antonio Spurs winning the 2023 NBA Draft lottery and the right to select Victor Wembanyama changes everything. The city is excited about their basketball team again. The Spurs franchise went from drifting aimlessly in the sea of mediocrity to once again having a generational big man to build around. 

With Wembanyama soon to be added to the mix, priorities and needs have changed. The Spurs will likely no longer have as much of an appetite to gamble on high risk, high reward prospects. For the foreseeable future, San Antonio will also surely prioritize how any potential roster addition fits alongside Wembanyama. 

After drafting first, the Spurs will have two picks in the second round: the 33rd and 44th overall selections. Here’s the updated Spurs Big Board after factoring in the franchise-altering lottery victory.

1. Victor Wembanyama

It’s only a matter of time before the Spurs select Wembanyama with the first pick of the 2023 NBA Draft.

2. Scoot Henderson

Pairing Wembanyama and Henderson would be epically exciting. He has sky-high potential as a point guard and would step in as a starter in San Antonio on Day 1. Alas, I don’t see a realistic trade that could get the Spurs high enough in the draft to pick Henderson. 

3. Anthony Black

4. Jarace Walker

On the first edition of the Big Board, Black was No. 9 and Walker was No. 6. However, the calculus changed after the Spurs won the NBA draft lottery. Black is a 6-foot-7 point guard with phenomenal basketball instincts and outstanding defensive potential. He knows how to play and would be a great point guard to pair with Wembanyama. Walker is a big-bodied 6-foot-8 prospect whose defensive versatility, high basketball IQ and chameleon-like ability to fill any role that is needed would make him a super clean fit next to the towering Frenchman. 

5. Cam Whitmore

6. Amen Thompson

While chasing upside isn’t as much of a priority after landing the top prize in the draft, Whitmore and Thompson have too much potential to ignore. Whitmore is an athletic, strong wing who has the tools to turn into a productive scorer and defender. Thompson is more of a boom-or-bust gamble but if he hits his ceiling, he’d be a star

7. Cason Wallace

8. Kobe Bufkin

Wallace and Bufkin move up in this second version of the Spurs Big Board due to the seamless fit next to Wembanyama. Wallace is a bulldog defender who has a chance to develop into a starting level point guard who thrives in the postseason. Bufkin is a rock-solid guard who knows how to play. He can shoot it, defend, play on the ball and play off the ball. 

9. Ausar Thompson

10. Taylor Hendricks

Two more players in the too-talented-to-ignore category are Thompson and Hendricks. Ausar, Amen’s twin, doesn’t have as high of a ceiling as his brother but he could become an all-around force. Hendricks can shoot it straight and block shots as an athletic 19-year-old 6-foot-9 forward prospect. Those two attributes alone keep him in the top ten. 

11. Brandon Miller

I have Miller outside of San Antonio’s top ten. Before Wembanyama, I didn’t think the Spurs would draft him at two or three. After Wembanyama, I can’t imagine the Spurs would risk adding the off-court issues Miller brings to the table. He could become a really good player … but it won’t be in San Antonio. 

12. Gradey Dick

13. Jordan Hawkins

Dick has size and is an outstanding shooter. He also plays a smart brand of basketball so he’d easily be a fit in any role the Spurs put him in. Hawkins is probably an even better shooter but he lacks Dick’s size so his potential usefulness isn’t as vast. 

14. Jaime Jaquez Jr.

Jaquez makes a ton of sense for various reasons. He’s a heady player who defends with toughness and can be counted on to make the right play. Jaquez isn’t the best shooter but he’s crafty and knows how to score. His combination of smarts and ruggedness is what you want next to Wembanyama. Oh, and he’ll sell a jersey or two in South Texas. 

15. Bilal Coulibaly

16. Rayan Rupert

Coulibaly is a French prospect who is currently Wembanyama’s teammate with the Metropolitans 92. The bouncy 18-year-old is extremely raw but at 6-foot-6 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, he has all the physical tools you’d want in a wing. Rupert, another French prospect, is 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan. He struggled playing for the New Zealand Breakers this season but his defensive potential is off the charts. 

17. Jalen Hood-Schifino

18. Keyonte George

If the Spurs trade for another first round pick, Hood-Schifino and George are a pair of potential targets if the Silver and Black are in the market for their point guard of the future. Statistically, both players struggled as freshmen in college. However, Hood-Schifino has elite size for the position and plays with such fluidity that it doesn’t take much imagination to see him as a valuable game-changer. George, on the other hand, has a chance to develop into a high-end shot creator. 

19. Leonard Miller

20. Sidy Cissoko

Miller and Cissoko played for the G League Ignite last season. Miller is a raw 6-foot-11 wunderkind with perimeter skills who still needs a lot of work but is oozing potential. Cissoko is yet another French prospect. He’s 6-foot-7 with a 6-foot-10 wingspan and has exhibited rapid growth in the last year, especially in transition. 

21. Dereck Lively II

If the Spurs want a center in the draft to pair with Wembanyama, Lively could be an option. The seven-footer averaged only 5.2 points per game at Duke last season as a freshman and could usually be found looking timid on the offensive end. That said, he could become a great defender down the line. Lively has good timing for blocks and can also move his feet really well out on the perimeter. 

22. Kris Murray

23. Ben Sheppard

24. Colby Jones

The Spurs have a need for brainy, ready-made prospects who have two-way ability. Murray, Sheppard and Jones qualify. Murray, the brother of Sacramento’s Keegan, has impressive instincts on both ends. It looks like he could develop into a quality 3-and-D wing. Sheppard was very good during the scrimmages at the combine. At 6-foot-6, he can hit threes and do a little bit of everything else. Jones is another all-around talent who is effective and efficient on both ends. 

25. Nick Smith Jr.

26. Brice Sensabaugh

27. Jett Howard

Smith, Sensabaugh and Howard are all intriguing scoring prospects. Smith was a highly-touted scorer in high school who struggled as a freshman but is blessed with exquisite touch. Sensabaugh was a scoring machine as a freshman at Ohio State but his defense was horrendous. Howard, Juwan’s son, can really shoot it and has good size but doesn’t do much else.

28. Amari Bailey

29. Olivier-Maxence Prosper

30. Brandin Podziemski

31. Tristan Vukcevic

This foursome all did well during the combine scrimmages — and that’s something the Spurs have historically paid very close attention to when scouting prospects. Bailey was excellent at running pick-and-rolls and has scoring upside. Prosper, 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, was dominant on both ends during the scrimmages. Podziemski posted sterling stats at Santa Clara and looked like an offensive maestro at the combine. Vukcevic is a long, legit 7-footer with a clean stroke from three-point land. 

32. Dariq Whitehead

33. Marcus Sasser

Whitehead and Sasser are opposites. Whitehead was a big-time recruit who struggled to do anything at Duke other than to hit threes. Can he rediscover his high school magic? Sasser isn’t blessed with notable physical tools but he worked and worked until he became the best offensive weapon on a really good Houston squad. In the NBA, Sasser could conceivably become a valuable combo guard. 

34. Noah Clowney

35. GG Jackson

36. Maxwell Lewis

These three prospects are routinely ranked higher than this but I don’t see a strong fit in San Antonio. Clowney is an athletic big man out of Alabama but he doesn’t look comfortable out on the perimeter on either end. Jackson is one of the youngest players in the draft and carried a huge load as a freshman but he was really inefficient and he has character-related question marks. Maxwell was great to start the season but fizzled down the stretch and didn’t always seem to be playing hard. 

37. James Nnaji

38. Trayce Jackson-Davis

Nnaji and Jackson-Davis are the two most interesting bigs left on the board. Nnaji is young, long and really athletic — but has to learn how to play the game. Jackson-Davis is coming off a highly productive season at Indiana but he’s old and can’t shoot. 

39. Andre Jackson Jr.

40. Jalen Wilson

Jackson and Wilson are multi-talented prospects with a glaring flaw. Jackson is athletic, very good on defense, very strong on the boards and an outstanding passer. However, his scoring rate has always been painfully anemic. Wilson was extremely productive this season at Kansas. He can score, shoot, rebound and process the game quickly — but he’s 22 and a half years old and was obviously aided in college by the fact that he was more mature than the vast majority of his opponents. 

41. Jordan Walsh

42. Julian Phillips

If the Spurs want to take a risk on a raw wing defender, Walsh or Phillips would fit the bill. Both wings are tall with extraordinarily long arms. Both also struggled to score as freshmen. Walsh exhibited a better feel for the game but Phillips showed glimpses of having a high ceiling on both ends if his maturation process proceeds perfectly. 

43. Keyontae Johnson

44. Bobi Klintman

Once upon a time, Johnson was a potential lottery pick. Unfortunately, a heart condition derailed his career. The good news for him is he’s coming off a strong season at Kansas State and has been cleared by the NBA to play. His stock hasn’t recovered though — mostly because he’s now 23 years old. Klintman is a 6-foot-10 wing from Sweden who played at Wake Forest. He didn’t do much right as a freshman but his fluidity for his size and his shooting stroke pass the eye-test.