The 2020 NBA Draft Lottery originally was set for this Tuesday (May 19), but like everything else around the NBA (and the nation) it is on indefinite hold. No new date will be set until the NBA determines what it is going to do with the rest of its season.
However, whenever the lottery returns, it will retain the same format as last year
Although some will inevitably grumble about the order being determined by an incomplete regular season, the belief among several executives asked about it is that the lottery will remain as it was scheduled to be before the pandemic.
“I wouldn’t expect changes,” said one executive with a lottery team.
This isn’t a surprise, and change would have been discussed with owners long ago.
It’s not ideal to have the lottery without the full 82 games (and it’s highly unlikely we will see a complete season, at best we likely see a handful more regular season games played). But, in this coronavirus shortened season, nothing is going to be as we hoped.
Besides, with the flattened out lottery odds (started last season), getting a little worse or a little better isn’t going to change a team’s chances in the draw dramatically.
When play was suspended, Golden State, Cleveland, and Minnesota had the three worst records and each would have a 14% shot at the No. 1 pick. That would be followed by Atlanta (12.5%) and Detroit (10.5%).
The 2020 NBA Draft Combine also is postponed, but the NBA still hopes to conduct that, possibly virtually. The NCAA has pushed back the date that players need to decide if they are in or out of the draft to maintain their college eligibility, with that date now in flux like everything else.
For now, the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery date remains up in the air. Adam Silver and his team at the league office have a decision tree and countless scenarios mapped out, depending upon the virus and how states where the league hopes to have “bubbles” for games are doing in the fight against COVID-19. When a decision on the season is made, the lottery and everything else will fall into place.
Until then, we wait.