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NBA pushing back dates for Draft Lottery and Combine, what’s next?

(USA Today)

(USA Today)

So there’s good news and bad news.

The bad news is, according to multiple reports, that the NBA is planning on postponing both the Draft Lottery and the Combine, which were originally scheduled to take place in Chicago later this month.

The Lottery was slated for May 19 with the Combine kicking off just a few days later, running from May 21 through May 24. Since the coronavirus put a halt on the 2019-20 season back in mid-March, this is some of the first concrete news we’re hearing from the NBA. May 1 has long been deemed the day that the NBA’s Board of Governors would finally start to make some decisions, and now that the calendar has switched over from April, we’re beginning to receive some answers.

While they did not make any rulings on the status of the NBA Draft set for June 25 just yet, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that it will likely be pushed back to a later date, as well.

But I did say there would be good news! Although it feels minor, comparatively. Marc Stein of The New York Times feels like these moves imply the league is planning on salvaging what is still left of the NBA’s regular season before they jump into the playoffs.

Had the NBA decided to stay the course with the original dates of the Lottery and the Combine, then it would have been safe to assume that the roughly 15-18 games left on each franchise’s regular-season schedule would have canceled and the league would leap straight into the playoffs. Whatever teams were left outside of the playoff standings would have stayed there.

Woj also reported that the NBA discussed moving the 2020-21 season to a December start date – an idea that has floated around for weeks now (and something I am personally all for). From all accounts, it feels like the NBA has zero interest in canceling what is left of the current 2019-20 season.

But even still, organizing any sort of basketball event is going to be an insanely difficult challenge. Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports pitched the idea of the NBA setting up a “bubble” venue down in Orlando’s Walt Disney World a couple of weeks ago and it appears that the NBA is seriously considering it. The concept of each franchise playing in their respective home arenas has all but vanished. There are way too many hiccups that would endanger the health of everyone inside the arena, even if there are no fans.

Considering some states are slowly entering the first phase of reopening, there will be franchises that can start to bring players into their training facilities earlier than others. For instance, according to a post by The Athletic, all three NBA teams in Texas can return to their arenas next Friday, while the teams in California will have to wait. Some teams will be able to practice, and others won’t, which can be seen as a competitive advantage. Even for the teams that can return to practice, there will be strict guidelines as to how their health will be checked.

Walt Disney World would actually be about as perfect a location the NBA might be able to find. There are enough hotels and basketball facilities to make it happen, as Smith points out, but there would need to be a massive increase in testing of the virus. It’s not just the players that would need testing, but everyone that might step foot in the building – from broadcast crews to arena workers to referees and so-on. Without increased testing, there is no safe and accurate way to determine who will be cleared of the virus or not when they enter the arena. According to a report by ESPN, the NBA does not plan on testing asymptomatic players and they’ll need approximately 15,000 tests just to make this work. However, they would need to do so without taking away tests that might go to someone in more serious need.

As stated in the same ESPN article, NBA teams could be in the “bubble” for up to three months if the league intends on finishing up the regular season; and that would come with constant testing and close supervision. There are a billion moving parts to this. But it genuinely feels like the NBA is going to do whatever it takes to finish off the season and then figure everything out from there. If the NBA’s top money-maker, LeBron James, thinks the season is going to continue, then I’d bet the league as a whole feels pretty optimistic.

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

Covering all things NBA and UK Hoops. Follow me on Twitter: @ZGeogheganKSR

9 Comments for NBA pushing back dates for Draft Lottery and Combine, what’s next?

  1. Lip Man 1
    9:00 pm May 1, 2020 Permalink

    Dollar to a donut they don’t play.

  2. Grazilla
    9:15 pm May 1, 2020 Permalink

    I haven’t seen where EJ has signed with an agent yet. I know his Dad really sounded like he wants him to go pro, but what if they decide the uncertainty surrounding the NBA isn’t worth it? Could he come back to next season?

    • IrishCat
      9:23 pm May 1, 2020 Permalink

      I’ve been wondering the same thing.

    • Corder
      3:56 pm May 2, 2020 Permalink

      The kid from Kansas did it. He went all the way through the draft didn’t get drafted and the NCAA ruled him eligible to come back and play the following year because he didn’t sign with an agent. I think it was Vick if I’m not mistaken.

    • Big Sexy
      9:15 am May 3, 2020 Permalink

      There’s not a chance in hell of EJ getting drafted but it seems it’s about the money for them. He’ll probably play overseas somewhere to get paid.

  3. Blue Mass
    9:30 pm May 1, 2020 Permalink

    Maybe we have another Randolph Morris situation on our hands.

  4. RAGE
    11:25 pm May 1, 2020 Permalink

    I would have hoped he wouldn’t have just signed with an agent.. But I wouldn’t hold my breath that he didn’t cause he seemed pretty clear that he was going… I don’t think he will come back even if he isn’t invited to the combine… I think he leaves no matter what considering he almost left last season also

  5. zoupman
    2:04 am May 2, 2020 Permalink

    I posted on here a long time ago, the NBA season has been cancelled. I stand by that.

  6. J. Did
    7:32 am May 2, 2020 Permalink

    Kreskin…you may be right.

    However, this article is not about this season.

    It is about.the 2020 NBA Draft and combine…being delayed.