In the past, the NBA and NCAA have worked together on an annual calendar that provides fairly rigid dates and deadlines each year for draft-eligible prospects and players who decide to enter the draft early. However, given the coronavirus pandemic currently affecting every aspect of life in North America and around the world, that calendar could be a whole lot more fluid this year.
Already, the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, a key part of the pre-draft schedule for NBA scouts and evaluators, has been canceled, and that event is highly unlikely to be the last one in the draft process impacted by COVID-19.
With that in mind, we’re using this space to keep tabs on the 2020 NBA draft dates and deadlines, as currently scheduled. If deadlines listed below are changed or certain events are eliminated altogether, this post will be updated to reflect that.
So, with the caveat that these dates and deadlines are extremely tentative for the time being, here are the dates worth watching in the coming weeks and months:
April 16 (11:59pm ET): Deadline to request evaluation from NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee
An early entrant who requests an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee can hire an NCAA-certified agent without worrying about losing his remaining college eligibility.
College underclassmen and international early entrants initially had until the end of the day on April 26 to submit their names into the 2020 NBA draft pool. However, the NBA retroactively pushed that deadline back to August 17, essentially creating a second window for early entrants to declare.
Those early entrants can always withdraw their names later if they decide they’re not ready to go pro this year.
May 17-19: G League Elite Camp (Canceled)
In a typical year, 40 NBA G League invitees would participate in the first half of this mini-camp before 40 top draft-eligible players who weren’t invited to the combine participate in the second half. Those invites would be sent out at the start of May.
However, this year, the event will almost certainly be postponed, canceled, or revamped to avoid having 80 players brought together.
In theory, the lottery could be conducted without needing to bring reporters, league executives, draft prospects, and representatives from every lottery team into one room. However, given how much scrutiny the lottery process faces from fans and team executives alike, the NBA may have to get creative to find a way to do it remotely.
May 19-24: NBA draft combine (Postponed indefinitely)
This five-day event typically allows NBA teams to get a first-hand look at many of this year’s top draft-eligible players. It’s particularly important for early entrants who have yet to decide whether or not to stay in the draft. The feedback they get at the combine goes a long way toward dictating whether they keep their names in the draft or return to school for another year.
In 2020, the combine won’t look anything like it typically does. There’s an expectation that some sort of virtual regional events can take place and some in-person interviews may be permitted, but teams’ abilities to scout players in person will be extremely limited, if not nonexistent.
College underclassmen who want to retain their NCAA eligibility will have to withdraw their names from the draft pool by August 3 or 10 days after the combine, whichever comes first. We’re assuming for now that August 3 will come first, since there are still no plans for a rescheduled combine.
NBA rules call for a later withdrawal deadline, but the NCAA has its own set of rules that call for a player to pull out by a certain date if he wants to be able to play college ball again.
This is the NBA’s final deadline for early entrants to withdraw their names from the draft pool and retain their draft eligibility for a future year. By this point, we generally know whether an NCAA underclassman kept his name in the draft or not, but this is an important deadline for international players, who aren’t subject to the same restrictions as college players.
June 25 November 18: NBA draft day (Rescheduled)
It remains to be seen what form this year’s draft will take. The WNBA completed a “virtual draft” in April — the NBA will likely opt for a similar arrangement.
In any case, with the NBA intending to resume its season in July, the June 25 draft had to be postponed. After initially pushing it back to October 16, the league and players’ union delayed it again. November 18 is the new date.