ESPN announced they will carry the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery at 5:30 p.m. PT as part of a playoff quadruple-header on Thursday. In addition to being televised on ESPN, the Lottery will be available for stream via the ESPN app.
The network’s coverage begins at 10 a.m. when the Indiana Pacers take on Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat. Following that game, James Harden and Chris Paul renew their rivalry when the Houston Rockets play the Oklahoma City Thunder. That is followed by the Orlando Magic against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks are looking to get back on track after an upset in Game 1. After the NBA Draft lottery, the Los Angeles Lakers will once again battle Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Lottery won’t feature the usual festivities due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic but will still have interviews and appearances from stars of the league. As usual, however, NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum will announce the selection order. Stephen Curry will represent the Golden State Warriors, one of 14 teams vying for the first overall pick.
Top prospects Anthony Edwards and Lamelo Ball, younger brother of former Laker Lonzo Ball, will appear on the telecast.
The Warriors, along with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves, have a 14% chance to receive the top selection. The Memphis Grizzlies, who were eliminated by the Trail Blazers in the NBA’s first-ever play-in game, have the worst odds with a .5% chance.
The Cavaliers will be represented by Brad Daugherty, who was the top pick in the 1986 NBA Draft.
The Lakers have been a staple of the Lottery since 2013, their last playoff appearance before this season. This year, however, the Lottery and Draft are relatively meaningless to the franchise.
L.A. does hold their first-round pick this year and will be selecting 29th as a result of their conference-leading record. Still, the franchise has made quality picks late in the Draft.
In 2015, the Lakers drafted Larry Nance Jr. with the 27th overall selection. One year later, they picked up Ivica Zubac in the second round. Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka took both Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart at the end of round one in his first draft.
James sees 2020 as toughest title
James has taken part in several brutal title races going up against the likes of the dynastic San Antonio Spurs and the 73-win Golden State Warriors. Now with no fans in attendance, he is facing his most difficult challenge yet.
“This is the toughest championship run for me personally,” James said. “From the circumstances of just being in here. I prepare the same way, just some other things change from previous seasons. As far as me being locked in, that doesn’t change.
“I’m not home, I’m not with my family, I’m not in my own bed, I’m not in our practice facility, I’m not preparing to be at Staples with our fans. I’m not with a lot of things that’s essential to my everyday regimen. That’s what’s different. As far as mentally, that’s always going to be sharp.”
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