The latest in San Antonio Spurs news changes the timeline of the NBA Draft process with the league pushing back both the lottery and combine.
Though it was inevitable, news finally broke today that the NBA Draft Lottery and Combine are being pushed back due to the league-wide suspension of play. For the San Antonio Spurs, the news comes in the first season that the team is slated to be part of the Draft Lottery since the team drafted Tim Duncan No. 1 overall in 1997.
Reported by the great Adrian Wojnarowski on Friday afternoon, the NBA’s official Board of Governors held a vote earlier today to find a decision regarding the matter. However, they have not officially pushed back the June 25 draft, though it’s very likely to be the case as well.
The NBA's Board of Governors voted on those items in a conference call today, but held off on formally pushing back the June 25 Draft date — although sources still expect that will eventually be done.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 1, 2020
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is working diligently to find a solution that allows the league to resume play this season and finish out the 2019-20 NBA calendar on a delayed schedule. By this point, we should be in the heat of the 2020 Playoffs considering the postseason was slated to start in the middle of April. However, that isn’t the case as the league was forced to suspend all operated when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus in mid-March.
Having the draft process delayed is better for everyone involved because it’s intention is to give teams and prospects the chance to meet in-person to evaluate skill and NBA readiness. This is going to be a particularly interesting draft given the fact that there was no NCAA Tournament to evaluate the competitive nature of these players, and many young prospects haven’t had the resources to play the game in as long as two months.
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This could give an edge to international players, of which there are many, who are spiking up draft boards as legitimate contenders to go in the top five. The most prevalent of the bunch is combo guard LaMelo Ball, who is the last of the storied Ball Brothers to enter the draft. He, along with guard R.J. Hampton, decided to forgo their college eligibility and play professionally in Australia to get acclimated to adult competition and be compensated for their play.
The NBA draft combine was one of the first places where the Spurs got to interact with their 2019 first-round draft pick, Luka Samanic of Croatia. He was a player many didn’t anticipate going until late in the first round, or even in the second round, but San Antonio’s front office was so infatuated with his potential that they took him early to secure his draft rights.
Moving the Draft combine and lottery back will give players the chance to prove themselves to NBA scouts and general managers across the league once we get back to some semblance of normalcy regarding the international health crisis.
Don’t forget, everything’s going to get back to normal eventually and then, we’ll be able to celebrate events like the Draft Combine and Lottery show.