Victor Wembanyama and the Spurs' future playoff chances - ESPN

2023-09-19 12:12:44  • 9 mins

The San Antonio Spurs have been here before.

In 1987, after finishing 28-54, they won the draft lottery and the right to select David Robinson, a 7-foot-1 generational big man out of Navy.

A decade later, following a 20-62 season, they again won the draft lottery and the right to select Tim Duncan, a 6-foot-11 generational big man out of Wake Forest .

Two picks, two Hall of Famers, five NBA championships.

Robinson didn't make his NBA debut until 1989 because of his two-year service requirement with the Navy. The Spurs went 21-61 the season before Robinson's arrival. Led by Robinson, fellow rookie Sean Elliott -- the No. 3 pick in the 1989 draft -- and then-coach Larry Brown, the Spurs jumped to 56 wins in 1988-89, finishing second in the Western Conference and reaching the second round of the playoffs.

Duncan joined a Spurs team that had won at least 55 games in three consecutive seasons before plummeting to 20 wins in 1996-97, when Robinson missed most of the season with a back injury. With a healthy Robinson and Duncan and with Gregg Popovich in his first full season as head coach, the 1997-98 Spurs won 56 games and reached the second round of the playoffs.

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