FOX sports betting analyst
The San Antonio Spurs rebuild took a big step in the right direction during the NBA draft when they selected Victor Wembanyama as the first overall pick. And tonight, a new era begins in San Antonio when Wemby steps onto the field of the NBA Summer League.
26 years after Spurs snagged the No. 1 overall pick and the opportunity to draft Hall of Famer and five-time world champion Tim Duncan, Spurs won the 2023 draft lottery. French phenomenon Victor Wembanyama becomes the city’s newest mainstay, after being selected as No. 1 in the overall selection.
How big was his slam dunk to get #1? Wembanyama’s chances were only -20,000 [$20,000 wins $100] is selected first in the 2023 NBA draft.
19-year-old Wembanyama is 7ft 3 tall with an 8ft wingspan. He runs across the ground like a deer and possesses supernatural abilities for someone his size. Wemby handles the ball like a guard, shoots like a winger, and finishes like an old-school center with confidence.
We knew the young phenom was a foregone conclusion to be first choice, but what impact will he have on betting next season?
“I think he’s worth about 5.5 wins,” Jeff Sherman, Westgate SuperBook’s vice president of risk management, told FOX Sports. “Spurs were so low on the ground that it’s easier for a guy like that to make a big impact.”
San Antonio’s average regular season win tally at the start of last season was 23.5 O/U, so a 2023-24 win tally close to 30 makes sense.
“Thirty wins seems a bit high [in terms of booking bets]said Sherman. “But it’s close. Spurs put their better players on the defensive and I’m sure they’ll spend money to bring in some veteran leaders.
“Maybe we will open on May 29th.”
It’s easy to compare the hype surrounding Wembanyama to the hype surrounding LeBron James when he entered the league in the early 2000s. The two are obviously very different players with different skill sets, but the betting similarities are eerily similar.
With an overall win count of 23.5, the Cleveland Cavaliers finished the 2002-2003 season a paltry 17-65 and selected LeBron as the first overall pick that summer. The Cavs exceeded expectations the following season, finishing the game 35-47 and beating Las Vegas’ total points, which was set at .
…you guessed it, 29.5.
What success looks like for Victor Wembanyama’s rookie season
Craig Carton and Tim Hardaway Sr. share what a successful rookie season looks like for Wemby.
“Spurs have shown that they are capable even without Wembanyama,” FOX Bet sports dealer Tieme Wesselink said via email. “They have built a decent young core over the past few years and will look to improve their roster through free agency and trades.”
Wembanyama played adult basketball in France and also competed in the Olympics. He needs to gain weight and build muscle, but the Spurs [could win 10 more games] with him in the flock.
Given the talent of Wembanyama and the magic of head coach Gregg Popovich, I don’t hate seeing San Antonio go 30 wins next season. However, there will be inevitable growing pains and we’ll soon see how Wembanyama handles working through screen after screen in the modern NBA.
We’ll also see endless highlights from the league’s next big star, and I already know bright minds who will try to put the Spurs in the right spots next season as underdogs with $3 or more on the money line.
But that’s about as far as I’m willing to go.
Expectations for Victor Wembanyama in San Antonio?
Chandler Parsons meets with Colin Cowherd to discuss with the San Antonio Spurs their expectations for Victor Wembanyama.
There are at least 12 teams in the West who will have a higher performance rating than San Antonio by October, so it’s difficult to imagine Spurs winning the 40 games it takes them to make the playoffs.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved that Wembanyama told ESPN right after the lottery, “He’s trying to win a ring as soon as possible.” That’s the kind of thing you want beginners to say and think. But I refuse to burn money for San Antonio. Bet on Spurs winning the Southwest Division, Western Conference or the Larry O’Brien Trophy?
No thank you.
The Spurs [+25000 at FanDuel Sportsbook] won’t win an NBA championship next year, but the trend is certainly going in the right direction going forward.
Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He will probably compete against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.
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