In a year like no other, the NBA continues to prepare to host a draft like no other.
While the annual draft typically takes place in June, the league's response to the coronavirus pandemic has now resulted in the draft being pushed back to a tentative date of Wednesday, Nov. 18 (Eastern Standard Time), over a month after the 2020 NBA Finals came to an end. And with a new draft date comes a new timeline of important events leading up to the draft.
During the NBA Draft Combine that is being held both virtually and in teams' respective markets, players sat down for videoconference interviews, conducted by team and league officials from late Sept. through mid-Oct.
After draft hopefuls took a number of virtual meetings from teams that expressed interest, they will now have an opportunity to visit the cities in which they could be beginning their respective careers.
As we move within one month of the draft, The Athletic's Shams Charania recently reported that the NBA will permit teams to conduct in-person medical evaluations and workouts through Nov. 16.
The NBA is allowing teams to begin conducting in-person meetings (medical evaluation, workout) with 2020 Draft prospects from Oct. 16-Nov. 16, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Teams receiving up to two visits per player; no more than 10 total among prospects.- Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 12, 2020
While other years would permit teams to host dozens of players, circumstances will cause teams to be very selective with the players they decide to bring in for visits, as they are capped at a total of 10 visits and a maximum of two per player.
As outlined by ESPN Draft Insider Jonathan Givony, who obtained the NBA's memo outlining this step in the process, visits will be limited to 4.5 hours and numerous health and numerous safety protocols will be followed.
"Within 72 hours prior to any visit, all participants including players, trainers, team personnel and physicians must undergo and return a negative COVID-19 result from an FDA-approved PCR test. Test results for team personnel must be provided to the league office for verification. Team personnel must also undergo a daily temperature check within two hours of interacting with any player, self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, wear a face covering, refrain from physical interactions (i.e. shaking hands) and maintain physical distancing of six feet or more."
In a year where a number of prospects have a wide range of spots which they can land in, these in-person visits could prove to be extremely crucial and influential in impacting selections on draft day. As reports surface of which players visit where, we may begin to get a semblance of an idea of the draft order.
Similar to the date of this year's draft, the order is very fluid as well. A number of teams could be looking to trade up - or down - with some major moves potentially being made on draft day itself. As this phase of the process is set to run up until two days before the draft, it could prove to be the most impactful part in a year of creative evaluation.
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