NBA Draft: Philly native Dereck Lively II, Nova's Cam Whitmore selected in 1st round

6abc Digital Staff Image
Friday, June 23, 2023
Action News On Demand
Action News On Demand

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Victor Wembanyama was the presumed No. 1 pick for months, the rare certainty in an NBA draft process that's often a guessing game.

Yet as the clock above the stage he was facing ticked all the way down to zero, butterflies set in.

"Longest five minutes of my life," Wembanyama said.

Victor Wembanyama poses for a photo with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected first overall by the San Antonio Spurs during the NBA draft, June 22, 2023, in New York.
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The San Antonio Spurs are confident he will be worth the wait.

The Spurs took the 19-year-old from France who arrives with enormous expectations to become basketball's newest sensation on Thursday night, triggering chants of "Wemby! Wemby" from a group of Spurs fans waving signs from the first row of seats in Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Wembanyama comes with far more height and hype than most No. 1 picks. Listed at 7-foot-4, he dominated his French league in his final season there, leading all players in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots.

Cam Whitmore arrives at Barclays Center before the NBA basketball draft Thursday, June 22, 2023, in New York.
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Two players with ties to the Philadelphia area also went in the first round.

Villanova's Cam Whitmore, the Big East Freshman of the Year, heard his name called at 20, going to the Houston Rockets.

It's a huge drop -- he was supposed to be a lottery pick. The analysts call it an "absolute steal."

Earlier in the evening, Philadelphia native and Westtown School grad Dereck Lively II went 12th overall to the Oklahoma City Thunder and was then traded to Dallas Mavericks.

The Duke big man had 82 blocks last year as a freshman.

Dereck Lively II poses for a photo with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being selected 12th overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder during the NBA draft, June 22, 2023, in New York
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)