The San Antonio Spurs are apparently very good at getting the top pick in the NBA Draft when a franchise-changing big man is on the line. The team previously got the No. 1 pick in 1987 when David Robinson was available for selection, and did it again in 1997 when Tim Duncan was in the Draft.
In 2023, the ping pong balls bounced the team’s way once more, and as a result, the overwhelming likelihood is that French big man Victor Wembanyama will begin his NBA career as a member of the Spurs. And as it turns out, one of the franchise’s other No. 1 overall picks is going to have a vested interest in helping him get used to life in the league, according to Marc Stein’s latest newsletter.
At the behest of longtime Spurs patriarch Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan agreed to join Pop’s coaching staff for the 2019-20 campaign interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. That one season was enough for Duncan to reaffirm what many suspected and what he surely already knew—full-time coaching isn’t for him—but the expectation is that he will regularly visit the team’s practice facility to work with Wembanyama when the Spurs are home.
As Stein mention, Duncan has previously served on Pop’s staff, but stepped down after 16 months at the helm. At the very least, he’ll be about as good of a mentor for Wembanyama as he can get early on in his career.