How the Rockets, Magic or Pelicans (thanks, Lakers!) could win the Wembanyama sweepstakes

NBA teams’ great “Brick for Vic” campaigns haven’t gone exactly as planned.

After spending the summer trading away nearly their entire starting lineup and appearing to put themselves in the pole position for the NBA’s worst record, the Utah Jazz are in first place — not in the lottery standings, but the actual Western Conference standings. And they’re not alone.

The San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder — two teams the oddsmakers in Las Vegas pegged to be among the league’s worst — are both off to hot starts. The Indiana Pacers are in the play-in mix in the East.

And then there are the Los Angeles Lakers. They can’t get into the mix for Victor Wembanyama, potentially the best prospect since current Lakers star LeBron James, but appear to be unintentionally tanking their way to the bottom nonetheless — much to the delight of New Orleans Pelicans fans, whose team has the Lakers’ 2023 first-round pick.

Zion Williamson and Victor Wembanyama? That’s a duo that could take the league by storm.

How about the next No. 1 pick pairing up with this year’s No. 1 pick Paolo Banchero in Orlando?

Or maybe there will be a new set of seven-footers in Oklahoma City with Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren.

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With nearly four weeks of the season gone, let’s take a look at the race to the bottom, dividing 10 teams into two groups: contenders and wild cards.

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