Take a trip back in time with me to May 16th, 2023. On this day, we had Game 2 of the WCF between the Lakers and Nuggets with the Nuggets up 1-0, a game they would later win 132-126. The true significance of that day however is what came before the game. The 2023 NBA Draft Lottery. When you have the greatest prospect since LeBron about to enter the league, it was a very big deal. Who was going to walk away winners of the Wemby Sweepstakes which in turn would most likely change their entire franchise?
After all that tanking, only one team was going to walk away the winner. As we know, that team was the San Antonio Spurs
A pretty massive moment for a franchise that knows a thing or two about snagging the #1 overall pick when there's a generational big man as the reward. All you could do was laugh that after David Robinson and Tim Duncan, the Spurs were once again "blessed" with Wembanyama.
You would think that with such a huge night and such an awesome result tha Gregg Popovich wouldn't only be invested in the day, he'd be over the moon with how things turned out.
Nope. As it turns out he apparently didn't even really give a shit and was sleeping on a plane to Italy during the entire Lottery
Now part of me feels like if any other coach tried to say something like this, they'd just come off as a huge hardo and there's no way I would believe him. Oh, you didn't care about the human cheat code that your team has a great chance to draft? You didn't even watch? Yeah OK pal. But with Pop…
It's pretty on brand, so I buy it. However my spidey senses are tingling a little bit after hearing this story. Did Pop not care/watch because he didn't think he could do anything to impact the result, or did he do all that because he already knew that Wemby was going to be a Spur?
Is it possible there actually were some David Stern-esq shenanigans going on last May (plus I just love that Stern gif and had to include it)? I mean this was arguably one of the biggest days in Spurs franchise history and Pop felt comfortable enough to not only go to Italy but to sleep through the entire thing and then not even really be excited when he learned they won? I'm just asking questions here.
As it turns out, all that hype and excitement is well warranted because Victor Wembanyama is already awesome
I keep having to remind myself that this is the worst Wemby is ever going to be and I'm not sure my brain fully comprehends that. While it's only been 4 games to his NBA career, you can already see what a problem he's going to develop into. Fresh in the league putting up 16.3/7.5/1.5/1.5/2.3 in 27 minutes a night, do you know how many players last year averaged at least 1.5 steals and 2.3 blocks?
Zero. Not a single player.
Call me crazy, but that seems pretty good! Just wait until Wemby develops more as a passer and his efficiency starts to come around (46/26%). You think he's a dominant force now, it's only up from here.
So while Pop may not have cared/been excited this past May, I'm pretty sure now that he's seen Wemby on the court and the Spurs are a sneaky 2-2 to start the year (basically all because of Wemby), I imagine he feels a little different today. How could you not? All the hype is being validated every time he steps on the floor.