The NBA long ago mapped out how to finish out the 2019-20 regular season inside the Orlando bubble, but plans for the offseason and next season are still getting worked on. The first major part of the offseason is the NBA Draft, and before that came the Lottery this week.
Next would be the annual Draft Combine. Like with several other professional leagues, events are being held virtually in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The NBA Draft Lottery proved to be a relatively simple thing to hold remotely, but the Draft Combine is a completely different story.
Normally the Combine would bring representatives from all teams together and be able to run prospects through drills, games and arguably most importantly, interviews. But obviously a normal NBA Draft Combine is just not a possibility at this time.
Therefore, the NBA reportedly is making plans on holding a virtual draft combine, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
The NBA is progressing on plans for a virtual draft combine to be held at regional sites throughout September, sources told 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.
While this is great for teams to get at least some kind of look at different prospects, the majority of top prospects are unlikely to take part in any workout sessions:
It is unlikely that many, if any, top 2020 draft prospects would agree to the workout sessions that would be shared virtually with the league’s teams from the combine sites. But there will be an opportunity for players who want to be evaluated in a limited combine workout environment to do so for NBA teams, sources said.
This is an interesting idea for the league, but one that could work. The idea of using multiple facilities around the country makes sense as it would limit players travel and the possibility of spreading COVID-19.
The league would also surely keep up with its testing practices that have worked extremely well so far. It might be the most normal part of the NBA Draft Combine as most top prospects do very little at the actual combine.
Many will attend and do interviews and some will take part in measurements, but that is usually where it ends.
The NBA continues to explore every option to take care of everything that needs to be done both in season and the offseason and do so safely. With the Lottery and Draft itself taken care of, the Combine is the final step in making sure that entire process is finalized.
NBA to create ‘Combine HQ’ to aid teams in draft process
The ongoing pandemic has made it very difficult for teams to handle their normal business and the draft is one of the biggest issues, particularly scouting. In addition to the NBA Draft Combine, teams usually hold group workouts and many players who are borderline draft picks travel around to multiple different facilities.
Obviously that isn’t possible in today’s climate so the league is trying out alternative means and a big one is creating a ‘Combine HQ’ in order to help teams scout. It will reportedly cover over 100 draft prospects and include profiles, stats, videos, and interviews from the players.
The NBA Draft is currently scheduled for Oct. 16, just days after a potential Game 7 of the NBA Finals, so something like this is exactly what could help many teams make such an important decision.
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