There has been plenty of speculation regarding whether or not the league will be able to finish out the 2019-20 NBA season amid the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
The restrictions placed by the NBA in an effort to stop the spread has had some major implications on their day-to-day operations. Although the outbreak has already had a major impact on the outcome of this season, the league is now in danger of watching this effect spill over into preparations for next season as well.
Teams were supposed to be in the process of breaking down their strategy for the 2020 NBA Draft in late June. It appears teams are hoping to buy themselves some extra time.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Jonathan Givony of ESPN, teams around the league are hoping the league is willing to push back the date to some time after August:
As information gathering on draft-eligible prospects remains limited during the coronavirus pandemic, many NBA teams are united in hopes of encouraging the league office to push the date of the draft from June 25 to no sooner than Aug. 1, sources told ESPN.
The report suggests that it will allow teams more time to do their due diligence under the current restrictions that have been placed with social distancing:
Multiple top team executives expressed to ESPN their belief that shifting the draft date would give organizations more time to salvage the essential elements of the pre-draft process, possibly allowing for in-person workouts, interviews and medical evaluations of prospects that current social distancing and shelter-in-place guidelines make impossible.
The request is certainly understandable considering teams are currently navigating through uncharted waters in this global pandemic. Many are still trying to figure out how to keep their players in shape and the staff employed during the ongoing hiatus.
Teams were also robbed of a valuable chance to gather some intel after March Madness was canceled, leaving them without the opportunity to decide on the potential pecking order for the upcoming draft. The closest look that they can get at an intriguing prospect now is through a video conferencing app.
The NBA is doing what they can to maintain the schedule that it has become accustomed to over the seasons, however, commissioner Adam Silver has acknowledged that the front office is still seeking out alternative options and will not have a decision until early May.
It will be interesting to see if the current crisis is enough for them to push back the timeline for this year’s draft.