The 2023 NBA Draft is over, Victor Wembanyama is finally a Spur, and fans around the world are wondering if their team picks will change the trajectory of their franchise.
Realistically, there are only a few game-changers in any kind of draft, but it’s fun to speculate on who walked away as a winner and who walked away as a loser.
Some of these we won’t know for sure for a few months, or at least until we get to the Vegas Summer League. What we do know for sure is that the family of the Thompson twins has probably never had a better night, and that Wizards fans are in for a long 2023-24 season.
Here are the other winners and losers from Thursday night.
G league turn on
Picked No. 3 by the Portland Trail Blazers, Scoot Henderson is the highest draft pick in the G League Ignite. Henderson is an Ignite and G League success story, and it looks like next year could be even more successful for the NBA developmental league. Two of the top five projected picks in the 2024 draft (Matas Buzelis and Ron Holland), another projected lottery pick (Thierry Darlan) and a possible late first-round pick (London Johnson) will play for the Ignite in 2023-24.
Saint Anthony Spurs
It’s good to be a Spurs fan. You have arguably the best coach in the professional game, five NBA championships, all won since 1999, most recently in 2014, and now, the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA draft. Victor Wembanyama is a talent generational, the most hyped prospect since LeBron James. Wembanyama is not just a franchise-changing player — a guy ESPN hoops analyst Jay Bilas describes as a “6-foot-2 guard on a 7-foot-5 frame” — but a marketing dream for the Spurs and the league. San Antonio has missed the playoffs the past four seasons, but that will likely be a thing of the past with Wembanyama in uniform.
It hurts to lose a longtime staple like Marcus Smart in a trade, but the Celtics acquired Kristaps Porzingis from the Washington Wizards and received two first-round picks (2023, 2024) from Memphis. Not a bad haul for a team expected to have significant max-salary investments in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Boston did not have a first-round pick in Thursday’s draft.
The parents of the Thompson twins
Troy Thompson and Maya Wilson are 6-foot-6 and 5-foot-6, respectively, and they hardly strike fear into the hearts of, well, anyone. But after having twins Amen and Ausar, the No. 4 and No. 5 picks in the 2023 NBA draft, probably none of us should make assumptions about anyone. It was an incredible night for the Thompson family, with Amen heading to Houston and Ausur heading to Detroit. They are the first brothers drafted since Markieff and Marcus Morris were No. 13 to Phoenix and No. 14 to Houston, respectively, in 2011.
“There are no words to really express how I feel,” a clearly overwhelmed Maya said on ESPN. “Seeing them go back to back, that just blows my mind. The world is opening up for them. There is not limit.
Another family that had a good night was the Murrays, as Kris Murray was selected No. 23 by Portland. Kris is the twin brother of Keegan Murray of the Sacramento Kings, the No. 4 pick in last year’s draft.
Long live France! What a night for the European country, home to the No. 1 pick (Wembanyama), the No. 7 pick (Bilal Coulibaly, to Indiana), the No. 43 pick (Rayan Rupert, to Portland) and the No. 44 pick (Sidy Cissoko , to San Antonio). As Clippers forward — and fellow Frenchman — Nic Batum tweeted after Coulibaly jumped considerably in the draft, “OMG.”
Maybe instead of calling the G League the developmental league of the NBA, we should give some credit to France, which was basically the farm system of the NBA in this draft.
We know the Wizards are taking him down. The new front office led by former Los Angeles Clippers general manager Michael Winger has embarked on an aggressive rebuild, trading Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis and Chris Paul, and there’s a chance the Wizards will lose Kyle Kuzma for nothing in free agency. . Through all of those deals, the Wizards have returned only one first-round pick, a conditional 2030 pick from Golden State. It’s going to be a long handful of seasons for the Wizards.
What the hell was Gradey Dick wearing, in the name of “The Wizard of Oz”? The former Kansas star must not have gotten the memo that the only Kansas allowed to wear that many ruby red sparkles is Dorothy. However, the newest member of the Toronto Raptors (the No. 13 overall pick) wasn’t the only one turning heads in his outfit. Scoot Henderson, the No. 3 pick selected by the Portland Trail Blazers, sported enough jewelry to blind most of the spectators at Barclays Center. And what was going on with Cason Wallace and that custom suit? Fortunately, all these guys are about to earn salaries where they can hire stylists.
Portland Trail Blazers
This one could be up in the air, but Damian Lillard has been unfailingly loyal to the Portland organization, saying multiple times that he wants to stay in the city and compete for a championship. But ahead of the 2023 draft, Lillard said he wasn’t interested in a rebuild, and if the Blazers couldn’t use their No. 3 pick to trade for an NBA veteran or make a big move in free agency, Lillard told Stephen A. Smith that he will have “a decision to make.”.”
As of the end of Thursday night, the Blazers hadn’t traded anyone, but they had selected G League Ignite’s Scoot Henderson. While Henderson is coming in, is Lillard coming out?
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NBA draft winners, losers: Gradey Dick’s tribute to Kansas turned heads