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Good morning to everyone but especially to ...
VICTOR WEMBANYAMA AND THE SAN ANTONIO SPURS
In 1987, it was David Robinson first overall to San Antonio.
In 1997, it was Tim Duncan first overall to San Antonio.
In 2023, it will be Victor Wembanyama first overall to San Antonio.
The Spurs won the NBA lottery and the chance to take Wembanyama, the 7-foot-4 French sensation, first overall. On Monday, our experts anointed San Antonio , and Tuesday it came true.
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Under Gregg Popovich, the Spurs have not only developed franchise cornerstone big men such as Robinson and Duncan, but also turned international players into stars, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili chief among them. All four of those players just mentioned are (or likely will be) Hall of Famers.
, writes our Brad Botkin.
- Botkin: "San Antonio struck gold here. ... The Spurs will put everything they have as an organization -- which is a lot -- into developing Wemby into the megastar he is seemingly destined to become. They've done it before with Hall of Fame big men Tim Duncan and David Robinson. Perimeter pieces are in place in Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell. ... Long term, Wembanyama should feel fortunate it went this way."
Believe it or not, there are more players in this draft than Wembanyama, and the Hornets , writes our David Cobb.
- 1. Spurs: C Victor Wembanyama -- "It was always Wembanyama. It was just a matter of his destination."
- 2. Hornets: SF Brandon Miller -- "Miller fits perfectly in the Hornets' system as a big, scoring wing."
- 3. Trail Blazers: PG Scoot Henderson -- "Maybe not the most seamless fit next to Damian Lillard, but Henderson's the clear top prospect available here for the Trail Blazers."
- 4. Rockets: SF Amen Thompson -- "Thompson is an elite playmaker who possesses the ability to make advanced reads as a potential lead guard."
- 5. Pistons: SF Cam Whitmore -- "Whitmore is one of the most explosive vertical athletes in this class who can hit 3-pointers and attack closeouts."
- In a huge coup for the United States men's national team, Folarin Balogun . Here's how the 21-year-old striker , and here's .
- We handed out .
- Colorado got more big-time transfers.
And not such a good morning for ...
THE DETROIT PISTONS
The Pistons had the worst record in the NBA, and it wasn't close. Their 2021 No. 1 pick, Cade Cunningham, . They Dwane Casey, a former Coach of the Year in Toronto, because even he couldn't turn things around. Wembanyama was the light at the end of a very, very dark tunnel for Detroit.
The Pistons had a 14% chance for the No. 1 overall pick -- tied for the highest of any team -- and a 52.1% chance to pick in the top four. They ended up No. 5.
It's a brutal blow to Detroit's rebuild, but it's not unprecedented. The league's worst team has never won the lottery since the latest odds change in 2019., writes Botkin. .
Not so honorable mentions
- Davante Adams and the Raiders .
- Yankees pitcher Domingo Germán was .
- Rangers prospect Kumar Rocker .
- The Aces lost their 2025 first-round pick, and coach Becky Hammon was suspended two games after .
If Game 1 is any indication, we are in for an all-time series between the Nuggets and Lakers.
Behind an absurd triple-double from Nikola Jokić -- and despite an equally absurd near-comeback from the Lakers -- Denver took Game 1, 132-126.
- Jokić had 34 points, 21 rebounds and 14 assists. It's his second career 30-point, 20-rebound triple-double in the playoffs. Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (once each) are the only other players to register that stat line in the postseason.
- Jamal Murray had 31 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope tied his career high with 21, and overall six Nuggets scored in double figures.
- Denver led by as much as 21 -- and by 14 entering the fourth -- before a furious Los Angeles rally cut the deficit to three. Anthony Davis finished with 40 points and 10 rebounds, and LeBron James had 26 points and 12 rebounds.
- Denver is 7-0 at home this postseason.
Denver has so many ways to beat you offensively, and they were all on display. The Nuggets got easy shots in transition, used the Murray-Jokic pick-and-roll and Murray's off-ball movement effectively and made plenty of difficult shots when they needed to. They're really, really good.
But during their comeback,, notes our Sam Quinn.
- Quinn: "Enter Rui Hachimura. In many respects, Hachimura is a poor defender. He averaged less than 17 minutes per game against the Warriors... But the Denver matchup is far more favorable. Jokic, for all of his craft and skill, largely moves downhill. With proper skill, mobility and patience, a sufficiently bulky power forward can hold his own against Jokic. So Darvin Ham made the change. For most of the fourth quarter, he used Hachimura as Jokic's primary defender. Jokic didn't make a field goal."
UEFA Champions League: Inter cruise, plus previewing Manchester City-Real Madrid ⚽
Welcome back to the UEFA Champions League final, Inter! After dispatching AC Milan 1-0 in Tuesday's second leg (and 3-0 on aggregate), the Nerazzurri are into their first UCL final since 2010.
Even with Milan star Rafael Leao back, Inter was unbreakable at the back, and Lauturo Martinez's 74th-minute strike put things out of reach. Martinez was one of two players earning 8/10 marks in . Our Francesco Porzio has the remarkable story of .
Looking forward to this afternoon, we have an absolutely massive match between Manchester City and Real Madrid, who drew the first leg 1-1.
Despite having lost seven of his previous 10 UCL semifinal appearances, City manager Pep Guardiola insists. James Benge certainly isn't overthinking .
- Benge: "Up until March 11, Ilkay Gundogan was averaging 0.18 goals and assists per 90 minutes. Since then that number has jumped to 0.99 per 90. He is completing more passes and take-ons, winning more duels, recovering the ball more frequently. He's one of City's most important players and he's rising to the moment."
Alongside, we also have:
- Tom Fornelli's
Who will replace Doc Rivers in Philly? 🏀
Another highly successful regular season. Another postseason meltdown. Another coach gone.
Doc Rivers 76ers got blown out by the Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Over the last three years, only the Suns and Bucks won more games than Rivers' 76ers. Now the coaches of all three of those teams (Monty Williams , Mike Budenholzer ) are out of jobs., just two days after the
- The 76ers lost in the second round in each of Rivers' three seasons, and the franchise has not made the conference finals since 2001.
- Rivers has posted 16 straight winning records as a coach, tied for the fourth-longest streak in NBA history.
- But Sunday's loss dropped him to 6-10 in Game 7s, by far the most Game 7 losses by any coach, and he has lost five straight Game 7s. His team has not scored over 100 points in any of those games.
- His last Game 7 win was in 2015 with the Clippers.
But Rivers, and with a very uncertain offseason ahead -- particularly regarding Harden -- Philadelphia decided a change was needed. Who could be next in Philly? Our Michael Kaskey-Blomain has , including...
- Kaskey-Blomain: "Mike D'Antoni is widely considered to be one of the most innovative offensive coaches in basketball history, and his addition would almost assuredly make Philadelphia's offense less stagnant, which has been an issue at times in recent years. ... D'Antoni coached Harden during his most successful and productive seasons in Houston, and hiring him could be a way to entice Harden to remain in Philadelphia."