2021 NBA Draft to Be Held July 29; Draft Lottery, Combine Dates Also Set

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 29, 2021

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announces the New Orleans Pelicans' selection of Duke's Zion Williamson with the first pick in the NBA basketball draft Thursday, June 20, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

After months of uncertainty in the schedule amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 NBA draft is now set for July 29

The NBA announced the schedule (via Marc Stein of the New York Times). Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic first reported the dates.

The NBA Draft Lottery is scheduled for June 22 while the draft combine is set to take place June 21-27.

A delayed start to the 2020-21 season means the draft will come shortly after the playoffs, which are set to begin May 22 and run through July 22 at the latest.

Despite being later than the typical June date, the upcoming draft will at least allow for more transition time compared to the 2020 event that was held on Nov. 18. Players had a limited opportunity to get acclimated to their teams before the start of preseason and the regular season.

An earlier timeframe can also help settle which players will be declaring for the draft instead of returning to college, giving coaches a better feel for their rosters going into 2021-22.

The 2021 NBA draft class features numerous high-upside talents, with Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham considered the favorite to go No. 1 overall. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman also lists USC center Evan Mobley and Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs among the top five, two players set to compete in the Elite Eight.

Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga will be a big storyline for the draft as well after forgoing college to play in the G League.

It could create some tough decisions for NBA front offices heading into July.