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If Victor Wembanyama Is a Lock to Be the No. 1 NBA Draft Pick, Then the Betting Starts at No. 2

by Kyle Wood/ May 17, 2023 at 9:45 a.m.

The Spurs have a rich history of No. 1 picks and French phenom Victor Wembanyama is a massive favorite to follow in the footsteps of Tim Duncan and David Robinson at the NBA draft next month.

San Antonio won Tuesdays lottery with a 14% shot at the top pick, which was tied with two other teams for the best odds. The franchise has picked first twice before: Robinson was selected in 1987 and Duncan was the choice in 1997 — both players are Hall of Famers.

The Spurs four-year playoff drought is the longest in franchise history and they are coming off a 22–60 campaign, their worst full season under coach Gregg Popovich. A generational talent like Wembanyama could change the tide in San Antonio, though there are other talented prospects available for the teams that missed out on the top prize.

Victor Wembanyama

Oscar Gonzalez/IMAGO images

The Hornets will pick second three years after they landed LaMelo Ball third overall. The Trail Blazers drew the No. 3 pick, their earliest selection since 2007, when they won the lottery. And rounding out the top five are the Rockets at No. 4 and Pistons at No. 5.

SI Sportsbook has betting markets available for the first five picks of the NBA draft, which can be found below. The draft is scheduled for June 22.

Odds to be the No. 1 Pick

Victor Wembanyama -10000
Scoot Henderson +1600
Brandon Miller +8000
Nick Smith +10000
Cam Whitmore +10000
Cason Wallace +10000

Wembanyama is the top-ranked player on SIs big board and a prohibitive favorite to go first. The 19-year-old boasts a skill set never before seen from a player of his size. The 74" Wembanyama played in LNB Pro A in France for the Metropolitans 92 and averaged 21.6 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game this season.

If there were to be an upset at the top of the draft, Scoot Henderson of G League Ignite has the next-best odds to go first. But thats quite a longshot — the overwhelming expectation is that Wembanyama will be the No. 1 pick, and it has been that way for quite some time.

Odds to be the No. 2 Pick

Scoot Henderson -225
Brandon Miller +170
Amen Thompson +2800
Ausar Thompson +5000
Nick Smith +6600
Victor Wembanyama +8000

Scott Henderson

Christopher Crevelin/USA Today Sports

Henderson, is the odds-on favorite to land in Charlotte alongside Ball in the backcourt. But its possible that Alabama forward and SEC Player of the Year Brandon Miller could go ahead of Henderson. Millers stellar season ended with a disappointing showing in the NCAA Tournament and he also dealt with off-court controversy due to his connection to the shooting death of Jamea Jonae Harris.

Sweeney ranks Henderson, a 62" guard, at No. 2, one spot ahead of Miller and lauded his potential as a primary ball handler. As for the 69" Miller, Sweeney writes: "His floor is rather high as a big wing shooter, and theres some upside to tap into here given the playmaking flashes he showed off at Alabama."

Odds to be the No. 3 Pick

Brandon Miller +110
Scoot Henderson +200
Amen Thompson +550
Ausar Thompson +1200
Cam Whitmore +1800
Jarrace Walker +2000
Nick Smith +2000

Wembanyama, Henderson and Miller appear to be the consensus top three players in the class and the draft seemingly starts with the Hornets at No. 2. Though Miller has the best odds to go third, ahead of Henderson, its been reported that Portland would likely trade its first-round pick unless it won the lottery. So Trail Blazers could shop their pick with the intention of adding around star Damian Lillard.

Odds to be the No. 4 Pick

Amen Thompson -105
Ausar Thompson +450
Brandon Miller +500
Cam Whitmore +650
Jarace Walker +700
Taylor Hendricks +2500

Amen Thompson of Overtime Elite, the No. 5 prospect on Sweeneys big board, is the odds-on favorite to go fourth to Houston. After Amen in the betting odds is his twin, Ausar Thompson, also of Overtime Elite. He stands at 67" as well but profiles as more of a wing. Sweeney ranks Ausar ninth in the class.

Odds to be the No. 5 Pick

Ausar Thompson +250
Jarace Walker +270
Amen Thompson +300
Cam Whitmore +375
Taylor Hendricks +800
Anthony Black +2000

This is where the betting market truly opens up. Ausar Thompson is the favorite to land in the Motor City but Houston forward Jarace Walker is not far behind and Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore, a forward from Villanova, are both in play as well.

Sweeney ranks Walker fourth on his big board and said he seems like a "ready-made high-level role player." As for Whitmore, who comes in at No. 8, Sweeney said, at times, he "looks the part of a potential high-end scorer in the NBA."

Other players who are among the favorites to go early in the draft include Arkansas guards Nick Smith and Anthony Black, UCF forward Taylor Hendricks and Kentucky guard Cason Wallace. Sweeney ranks Black No. 6, Hendricks No. 7, Wallace No. 10 and Smith No. 14.

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