The NBA’s pre-draft process is in disarray amid the coronavirus pandemic.
There’s even question about the draft date, currently scheduled for June 25.
As information gathering on draft-eligible prospects remains limited during a pandemic, many NBA teams are united in hopes of encouraging the league office to push the date of the June 25 draft until no sooner than Aug. 1, sources told ESPN.
Many team executives are preparing for a delayed NBA draft — as late as September.
Every team is operating at an information-deficit relative to a normal year.
But every team is operating at an information-deficit. That disadvantages some teams more than others, which means in turns into a relative advantage for the teams harmed less. Those teams should advocate for keeping the draft as is.
Likewise, there’s a push to hold the draft after the current season so current players can be traded during the draft. That’d obviously create flexibility for all teams. But only some teams would actually take advantage. The teams that wouldn’t trade a current player would gain a competitive advantage if the draft is held before the season ends.
Of course, it’s not necessarily easy for teams to identify which camp they fall into. There’s also comfort in normal routines. Executives and scouts want to prove their scouting efforts actually make a difference. So, it’s easy to see why there’d be widespread momentum for postponing the draft.
That said, unlike games, the draft can be held virtually (as the WNBA is doing). The NBA is desperate for televised content, resorting to video-game and HORSE tournaments. The draft would draw plenty of viewers on its original date. Later, there’s more likely to be other televised sports events diverting attention.
The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting life in many ways. A June draft would be uncomfortable. But it also might be the least-bad option for some teams and maybe even the league as a whole.