The NBA Draft process for months was stuck in limbo as the pandemic put a pause on the NBA and the tentacles of its operations. But as the NBA makes its move to return in July, the draft process is starting to come into focus. With a tentative date for the league’s restart, we have a new timeline on which to operate for the draft, with a new withdrawal deadline and dates both for the lottery and the draft event itself — all scooted back to accommodate the restructured season.
The league continues to press on with a caveat-laden mindset regarding its timeline — an if everything can be done safely, it will proceed as such mantra. But as of now here’s when the draft will push ahead with key dates to know and answers to questions you may have related to the process.
The NBA has reinforced it will proceed with caution, saying earlier this month that if the season resumes as scheduled, it will resume July 31. So if that goes off without a hitch, the draft lottery will be held August 25. The draft will take place on October 16, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The 2020-21 NBA season will begin six weeks removed from the draft.
The withdrawal deadline dictated by the NCAA is set for August 3 or 10 days after the NBA Draft combine. The combine has not been scheduled and may not happen at all.
The NBA has flattened its lottery odds system to make it fairer for teams not at the top of the odds structure to win the lottery. The 2020 lotery marks the second year in this new system. Last year, its goal of flattening the odds was accomplished: the Pelicans, with a 6% chance of winning the lottery, did exactly that. This year the Hornets have a 6% chance of winning, behind the Warriors, Cavs, Timberwolves, Hawks, Pistons, Knicks and Bulls.
Those are the eight NBA teams whose odds are set in stone — the eight teams whose season effectively ended with the NBA’s restructured season. The 9-14 spots will be determined at a later date based upon how the remainder of the season unfolds.
- 1. Golden State: 14.0%
- 2. Cleveland: 14.0%
- 3. Minnesota: 14.0%
- 4. Atlanta: 12.5%
- 5. Detroit: 10.5%
- 6. New York: 9.0%
- 7. Chicago: 7.5%
- 8. Charlotte: 6.0%
- Team 9 > 4.5%
- Team 10 > 3.0%
- Team 11 > 2.0%
- Team 12 > 1.5%
- Team 13 > 1.0%
- Team 14 > 0.5%
How the draft order will be sorted
Per the NBA, the 16 playoff teams in this year’s format would draft in inverse order of their combined records across regular-season games and seeding games.
I wrote a little bit about this earlier in June, but here’s the long and short of it to explain what amounts to three different categories of teams and how their standing in the order will get situated.
The first category– teams who would be in the late lottery but can win their way to a playoff berth — is comprised of the Wizards, Suns, Spurs, Pelicans, Kings and Trail Blazers. The second — teams projected to be in the playoffs but can lose their way into the lottery — is comprised of the Magic, Nets and Grizzlies. The third — teams who have clinched a playoff spot but whose final positioning will be determined by the seeding games — consists of the Mavericks, Pacers, 76ers, Thunder, Rockets, Heat, Jazz, Nuggets, Celtics, Clippers, Raptors, Lakers and Bucks.
The 14 lottery teams are comprised of the eight teams whose season have ended plus the six teams — yet to be determined — that participate in the restart but do not qualify for the playoffs.