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2023 NBA Draft: Winners and Losers

With the 2023 NBA Draft having wrapped up this past Thursday night, the immediate reaction is to ask which teams won and which teams lost? 

Here we will discuss our thoughts on just that and will be providing our winners and losers.

Winner: San Antonio Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs have to be considered one of the biggest winners of the NBA Draft solely because they were able to draft Victor Wembanyama with the first overall pick. 

Part of this has to do with the fact that the Spurs were lucky and received the first overall pick in the NBA Draft Lottery as it could have easily gone to another team. 

Nonetheless, this is exactly what the Spurs needed to start trying to rebuild after a few poor seasons recently.

Wembanyama has already been dubbed as a generational talent and one of the best Draft prospects in a long time. 

At 7 '5'’, Wembanyama will instantly bring his length and play-making ability to a team that desperately needs it. 

Playing in the French LNB Pro A league, Wembanyama led the league with 21.6 points per game, 10.4 rebounds per game, and 3.1 blocks per game in the 2022/2023 season. 

For comparison, the Spurs’ leading scorer this past season was Keldon Johnson, who averaged 22 points per game. 

While it is true that the overall talent in the French league is likely not comparable to the NBA, Wembanyama is a special player and should be able to make the jump to the NBA without any issues. 

To further prove what is expected of Wembanyama, he is already listed as a -250 favorite for Rookie of the Year in 2023/2024. 

Winner: Portland Trail Blazers

Another team that should be considered a winner is the Portland Trail Blazers

They selected Scoot Henderson, +450 to win Rooke of the Year, with the third overall pick, a highly talented player from the G League Ignite. 

The main reason why they are winners is because Henderson was expected to go second overall for a long time to the Charlotte Hornets

That being said, the Hornets opted to go with Brandon Miller out of Alabama. Miller will likely fit better with the Hornets, seeing that they already have LaMelo Ball running point. 

In 2022/2023, Henderson averaged 16.5 points per game with the G League Ignite. 

Henderson arrives in Portland with Damian Lillard still on the roster, which is expected to be quite the duo. That is, as long as Lilliard stays in Portland, which is still up in the air at the moment. 

As well as Henderson, the Trail Blazers also drafted Kris Murray in the first round out of Iowa. 

Murray is another talented piece that could complement Lilliard and now Henderson to make the Trail Blazers at the very least, a playoff contender. 

Murray is coming off a season where he averaged 20.2 points per game, a huge improvement from the 2021/2022 season, when he averaged just 9.7 points per game. 

No matter how the Trail Blazers utilize him, he is sure to make an immediate impact and help the Blazers improve once the new season begins.

Losers: Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, and Philadelphia 76ers

The main reason why the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, and Philadelphia 76ers should be considered losers is simply because they did not have a pick in the 2023 Draft. 

Because of this, they were unable to add any new talent to their rosters and will have to find other ways to improve. 

The fact that none of these teams had a pick would suggest that they were traded away at some point, and considering none of these teams have won the NBA Finals recently, or even been to an Eastern Conference Finals, the question will be “Was trading away those picks worth it?”

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