Isaiah Livers Declares for 2020 NBA Draft, Could Return to Michigan

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2020

Michigan forward Isaiah Livers (2) dribbles the ball against Maryland guard Darryl Morsell, back, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, March 8, 2020, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Michigan forward Isaiah Livers announced his intention to enter the 2020 NBA draft in a press release Monday, though he could return to the Wolverines for his senior season:

"Following the cancellation of the season, my family and our coaching staff have had several discussions on my future as a basketball player. After much reflection and prayer, I have decided to enter my name into the 2020 NBA Draft and start the full evaluation process. The University of Michigan has done so much for me and helped me get to a position where I might be able to reach my goal of playing professional basketball. While this is only the start of the evaluation, I have appreciated your encouragement and will continue to need it as this process moves on."

Livers will hire an agent, but he has until June 15 to withdraw from the draft and maintain his college eligibility, though the uncertainty with the coronavirus pandemic may cause that date to shift.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said Sunday on SportsCenter (h/t Michael Kaskey-Blomain of CBS Sports) that the draft could be pushed back until August or September. He added that the only way the league would hold a draft in June is if the remainder of the season is canceled: 

"It feels like in talking to people around the league, the only scenario you would have a draft on June 25 is if you've already decided to not play any more of the NBA season. They hope and believe that that won't be the case because it's going to be nearly impossible to have a draft while the playoffs have started. As long as there's any teams still playing, you're not going to be able to do trades. And it's hard to have a draft night without teams feeling they could trade more than draft picks. Most deals, there's players involved."  

The pandemic adds another layer of uncertainty to an already difficult process, especially for players like Livers who are not viewed as elite NBA prospects. Livers averaged 12.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game in 2019-20 and shot a 40.2 percent clip from three.

ESPN ranked Livers as the No. 100 player in the 2020 class. While it's likely some teams view him as a better prospect, the predraft process is critical for fringe picks to impress teams, who may need to base their evaluations solely on film this year in what is expected to be a reduced predraft process.

Livers and many others may be better off going back to school and proving themselves in 2020-21.