It looks like the format for the 2020 NBA draft combine is finally coming into focus.
ESPN reported Tuesday that the league has plans for a combine that would be held virtually at multiple “regional sites throughout the month of September.” Here’s an idea of what that could look like, via ESPN:
In what's likely to become one of the most wide open draft processes in years, prospective players would attend selected regional team facilities throughout the country, sources said. The plan would include team doctors administering physicals at local hospitals and league officials recording body measurables and putting players through physical testing at team facilities, sources said.
The plans could be finalized and shared with teams in the coming week, ESPN’s report says.
The original NBA pre-draft process was thrown into complete flux by the coronavirus pandemic, which caused a pause of the season back in March. The original combine, scheduled for Chicago in May, was canceled, putting the futures of the top professional basketball prospects in limbo.
The combine allows all of the NBA’s teams to gather in one place to evaluate invited prospects in both on-court — like tests, drills and scrimmages — and off-court settings, namely interviews. In recent months, teams have been limited to virtual interviews while prospects work out on their own. All in-person workouts and interviews with NBA teams have been prohibited.
In a typical, non-pandemic year, teams would also bring in swarms of prospects to their own facilities for a closer look throughout the summer in the lead-up to the draft, which is typically held in June a few weeks after the conclusion of the NBA Finals. The original 2020 draft date was June 25.
In this unique environment, top prospects may decline to participate under the guidance of their agents. From ESPN:
Agents are careful to control what NBA evaluators are able to witness in the pre-draft process, and typically invite NBA executives to pre-draft Pro Day sessions that won't be allowed this year during the pandemic.
The lottery to determine the NBA draft’s order is scheduled for Thursday night with the draft itself on the books for Oct. 16. The location and format for this year’s draft are still up in the air.
Early-entry candidates for the NBA draft had until Monday, Aug. 17 to declare their intentions — an extension from the original April 26 date. Contenders for the No. 1 pick include Georgia freshman guard Anthony Edwards, Memphis big man James Wiseman and guard LaMelo Ball, who most recently played in Australia.
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