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The 2020 NBA draft is reportedly now scheduled for October 16, with an early entry deadline of August 17, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Wojnarowski added that the early entry withdrawal deadline is October 6, which means players can wait until 10 days before the draft to withdraw and return to school.
The draft was originally scheduled to be held in June, but with the coronavirus pandemic halting play in March, the 2019-20 season has yet to conclude.
The NBPA has approved the NBA’s plan to resume play in Orlando, Florida, on July 30, with each of the 22 invited teams playing eight regular-season games before the start of the playoffs.
Under that scenario, the NBA Finals are scheduled to end in October, which coincides with the reported new draft date.
The 2020 NBA draft lottery is now scheduled for August 25 after getting postponed, while the combine has yet to be rescheduled and may not happen because of COVID-19.
If the 2020 NBA draft does indeed happen on October 16, it may not give draftees much time to get acclimated with their new teams prior to the start of the 2020-21 season.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the NBA has discussed a December 1 start date for the 2020-21 season, although the National Basketball Players Association has reportedly told players that it is “unlikely” the season will start that early.
Of the 30 NBA teams, eight of them will not report to Orlando to play should the season resume. Those eight teams currently have the best chance to land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, with the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves leading the way at 14 percent apiece.
There is no clear and obvious choice to go first overall at this juncture, but there is no shortage of intriguing and talented options.
Australian league guard LaMelo Ball, University of Georgia guard Anthony Edwards and University of Memphis big man James Wiseman stand out as the top three candidates. In his latest 2020 NBA mock draft, Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman projected that the Detroit Pistons will land the No. 1 overall pick and take Ball.
Other notable draft prospects who figure to be in the mix as lottery picks include Dayton’s Obi Toppin, North Carolina’s Cole Anthony and Israel’s Deni Avdija.
Preparing for the draft could be a challenge for NBA teams because of the late withdrawal deadline. While most players projected to go in the first round aren’t likely to withdraw, even one potential first-rounder pulling their name from consideration 10 days before the draft could throw draft boards into disarray.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced the NBA to get creative and do things differently than they normally would, and the drastic change to the draft date and withdrawal deadline could result in one of the most unpredictable drafts ever.
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