Connect with us


The Sweepstakes Continues Part III

John Locher / AP Photo

NBA Draft speculation, a tradition as old as time. Who will be drafted where, which team will uncover the hidden gem and which team will select the newest bust. This is not one such ritual but speculation on where the NBA’s next huge prize will land.

Victor Wembanyama is arguably the most highly coveted and hyped NBA draft prospect since LeBron James. Who will take him in the 2023 NBA Draft and land a generational talent that can transform their team for the next ten to fifteen years? This is who is most likely to acquire him half way through the current NBA season in the third and final part of this article series.


Orlando Magic 

Kelley L. Cox / USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic on paper would have a borderline terrifying team in terms of size and length compared to the rest of the league with the addition of Wembanyama. Imagine having to defend a team between their lineup and bench possessing Wembanyama (7’2’), Bol Bol (7’2”), Moritz Wagner (6’11”), Jonathan Isaac (6’11”), Wendell Carter Jr. (6’10”), Paolo Banchero (6’10”) and Franz Wagner (6’9”). 

You might as well march the Looney Tunes out to play the Monstars again. There are so many possibilities defensively in terms of switching, rim protection and passing lane congestion. How do you penetrate against a team that at any given time would have three players out there exceeding 6’10” with long arms and quick feet? 

Assessing The Fit

Mo Bamba is likely the odd man out here and could be included in packages to acquire a proven point guard to help distribute the ball with this lineup. Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs haven’t fully proved their ability to command the offense and Markelle Fultz has taken a jump this year in terms of efficiency but needs to be able to stay on the court to make an impact. 

The likelihood of this scenario coming to fruition is unlikely, history is not exactly on the Magic’s side here with only one instance in NBA history where a team had back-to-back number one draft picks in the draft in consecutive years. Ironically, the only team this has happened to was indeed the Magic back in 1992 and 1993 which landed them Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway in those years. If there was a team to do it, it would be the Magic. 



David Banks / USA TODAY Sports

There were a couple of teams many thought would be on this list at this time in the season like the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz, but they have made unexpected leaps this year and are competing for play-in tournament spots in the Western Conference. A handful of teams are teetering on the edge of mediocrity and fringe playoff teams that won’t likely have a shot at Wembanyama. There are also two teams that could blow their teams up at the trade deadline and accelerate a rebuild for the second half of their season. 

Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors are intriguing due to the current roster makeup and what they could garner in terms of young talent and future draft picks. Fred VanVleet will likely decline his player option after this season to test the free agent market, Gary Trent Jr.’s name has been mentioned in trade rumors and behind the scenes OG Anunoby is quietly in the middle of a bidding war for his services with reports of some teams offering the Raptors three first round picks for the forward. 

Pascal Siakim and Scottie Barnes are likely the only pieces the Raptors would retain but even Siakim could be on the table for the right price. Masai Ujiri, president of the Raptors, may be bold enough to blow the team up to vie for a generational talent like Wembanyama. Nick Nurse wouldn’t be the worst coach either to help develop the young center defensively and play within a cohesive team setting with championship experience. 

Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls are the second team that could raise some eyebrows at the trade deadline if they possess the chutzpah to blow up their current experiment in favor of a more auspicious one. The Bulls sit only a few games outside of playoff contention but continue to disappoint especially in the absence of Lonzo Ball

DeMar DeRozan is still playing at a high level but Nikola Vučević continues to underwhelm for the price the Bulls paid for him. Zach LaVine’s efficiency has declined over the past three years and doesn’t demonstrate the body language and effort that the leader of a championship squad should display. LaVine’s contract would likely be difficult to move but with the right team desperate enough to contend, the deal could happen. Alex Caruso and Coby White would draw some trade interest as well. 

All of that considered, the Bulls would have to embrace a full tank to possibly make this happen due to the conditional nature of their first round draft pick this year. The team originally sent this draft pick to the Magic as a part of the trade to acquire Vučević in 2021 but it is a top-four protected first-round pick which means that if the Bulls fall within the first four picks of the draft then they keep it. 

The Bulls current situation makes it tantalizing to light a match and burn it all down in order to bring Wembanyama to Chicago, one of the NBA’s largest markets. The Bulls could retain Ayo Dosunmu, Patrick Williams and Ball if he can recover from his injuries to pair with Wembanyama and start from scratch as a franchise. 


Fight To The Finish 

The landscape of the NBA this year has been extremely competitive and balanced with most teams in both conferences competing for playoff spots in some form. There have been many surprises in that regard but we will see in the second half of the season if any considerable separation takes place in the playoff race. 

The possibility of fringe teams presently that start to slip down the standings later in the season may embrace the idea of landing the golden goose and take their foot off the gas. The NBA this season has been wild in terms of crushing and exceeding expectations so this list by the time April rolls around could be completely different but for now the Wembanyama Sweepstakes continues…

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured Articles

Featured Writers

More in Features