Spurs Legend and NBA Hall of Famer Tim Duncan is reportedly expected to return to the franchise next season to help develop French phenom Victor Wembanyama, the widely believed No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA draft.
San Antonio, which won the top pick in Tuesday’s draft lottery, plans to acquire Duncan’s services as an on-court mentor for Wembanyama as he transitions to the NBA, according to NBA insider Marc Stein. Duncan, the No. 1 overall pick in 1997, will reportedly help the 19-year-old throughout the season if the team is in town.
“The expectation is that [Duncan] regularly visits the team’s practice facility to work with Wembanyama when the Spurs are there,” Stein reported in his latest newsletter released on Saturday.
It’s unknown if Duncan will join the Spurs in an official capacity, but his reported involvement marks the first time the five-time NBA champion and 15-time All-Star has worked with the team. He has since served as an assistant coach in the 2019-20 season.
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Stein’s report adds another surprising headline to a week centered on Wembanyama with the well-documented sweepstakes to secure the rights to draft him today.
The Spurs’ expected selection of Wembanyama will mark the first time since Duncan, who retired in 2016 after 19 seasons, that the team has selected a top pick. It was also the third time in franchise history (David Robinson, 1987) that they had the No. 1 choice.
With the buzz surrounding the new season continuing to build, Duncan’s return to the top of a No. Not to mention, learning from one of the NBA’s all-time greats should lead to improvement for the highly touted prospect on the floor and his new fanbase.