With the NBA season not expected to resume until mid-June, if at all, the status of the annual draft is up in the air. Front office executives were hoping to use the conference and NCAA tournaments to solidify their evaluations on some of the top prospects, but now they’ll have to wait until a re-scheduled combine to get a chance to see players in a competitive setting again.
The annual draft combine is usually held in Chicago in mid-May, but it’s likely the league will push that back into July, with the draft held shortly after the end of the playoffs.
Given the fact there is so much uncertainty in ranking players at the top of the lottery, individual team workouts and interviews will take on more importance than ever before. Don’t be surprised to see a number of teams with high first round draft picks look to pursue trades for veteran help.
Golden State has the worst record right now, and it’s no secret the Warriors are interested in pairing a top five pick with a player like Andrew Wiggins to add another star to their core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
That’s a strategy that also could benefit the Bulls this summer. Without any clear franchise changing players available in this year’s draft, adding another young prospect isn’t what the front office should be looking to do.
Let’s say Philadelphia decides to break up their star duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Why not make an offer for Embiid that includes the high lottery pick, either Lauri Markkanen or Wendell Carter Jr. and throw in Otto Porter Jr. to make the money work? If the Sixers make Simmons available, would an offer of Zach LaVine and the 1st rounder get it done?
One thing we know for sure about the NBA, star players will get restless this summer after their teams are eliminated in the playoffs, and some will try to force trades to better situations. If the Bucks fall short of the Finals, and Giannis Antetokounmpo turns down a max contract extension, you can bet his name will be involved in trade rumors with teams throughout the league.
Would Milwaukee consider an offer of Markkanen, LaVine and their 1st round pick? Probably not, but the Bulls need to pursue any and all options to bring a true superstar to Chicago.
So many unknowns as we look ahead to the 2020 draft, but with the college season over, NBA talent evaluators already have a pretty good idea of how their draft boards will line up. Here’s a look at how the first round could fall.
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