2020 NBA Draft to Be Held Virtually in ESPN's Studios on Nov. 18

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2020

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks during an interview before Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The 2020 NBA draft will be held virtually Nov. 18 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to ESPN.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will announce first-round picks from ESPN's studios in Bristol, Connecticut, and top prospects will join the broadcast virtually.

The draft was originally scheduled to take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, in June. The NBA pushed back the event as it completed the regular season and postseason in Orlando, Florida, after a hiatus of nearly five months.

The NBA becomes the latest major sports league to hold a virtual draft rather than have teams, players and fans participate in person.

In April's NFL draft, teams videoconferenced their picks, and commissioner Roger Goodell announced selections from his home. MLB held its draft remotely in June with just five rounds instead of the usual 40 rounds, while the NHL draft took place online Oct. 6 and 7.

The NBA has adjusted its predraft process with no live combine and only video interviews with players. The league is allowing limited in-person meetings and workouts with no more than 10 different prospects per team and no more than visits two per player, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.

Combined with a shortened offseason ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, teams will know less than usual about prospects before they step on the floor in a few months.

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This could put more pressure on front offices, beginning with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who hold the No. 1 pick, followed by the Golden State Warriors and Charlotte Hornets. Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman and Deni Avdija are among the prospects likely to go off the board early in November.