2020 NBA Draft Lottery, Combine Postponed amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2020

NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum announces that the Atlanta Hawks won the 10th pick during the NBA basketball draft lottery, Tuesday, May 14, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nuccio DiNuzzo)
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Associated Press

The NBA announced Friday that it has indefinitely postponed the NBA draft lottery and NBA draft combine, which were both originally scheduled for May.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium was the first to report the news.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2019-20 NBA regular season has been suspended since March 11. It remains unclear if or when the season will resume.

Since the final standings for the 2019-20 season have yet to be determined, it isn't possible to hold the lottery. Also, with teams still focused on finishing the season, the draft combine isn't currently a priority.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the league made the decision to postpone the events during a Board of Governors conference call. He noted that while the NBA draft is still set for June 25, sources expect that it will eventually be pushed back.

Wojnarowski also reported that the possibility of moving back the start of the 2020-21 regular season from October to December was discussed since it could conceivably give the NBA a better opportunity to have games in front of fans.

The NBA is beginning to take steps toward potentially finding a way to finish the 2019-20 season. The most notable one is the opening of team facilities in certain cities and states beginning May 8.

While only a limited number of players will be allowed to be present at first, getting players into the team facilities is the first step in what could be a long process of getting players prepared for a return to action.

The fate of the draft lottery, draft combine and draft itself undoubtedly rely heavily on the status of the 2019-20 season.

Since the draft lottery, which was scheduled for May 19, and the actual draft can be done virtually much like the NFL draft was, finalizing the standings and determining a draft order are the primary things that are holding those events up.

The combine, which was scheduled for May 21-24, is a different story, and it may not be able to happen because of the restrictions in place as a result of COVID-19. The NFL was able to do its combine just prior to the banning of large gatherings, but many pro days were canceled, which led to some prospects doing them virtually.

It is possible that all NBA prospects will have to do their workouts and interviews virtually, which could have a significant impact on the draft when it happens.


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