The NBA draft is officially set.
The draft, which had already been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will now be held virtually on Nov. 18, ESPN and the league announced on Thursday.
ESPN will broadcast the draft live that night, and both commissioner Adam Silver and deputy commissioner Mark Tatum will be in ESPN studios at Bristol, Connecticut, to announce the picks.
Top players are expected to join the draft virtually.
Next season likely delayed until January
Silver had initially hoped to start the 2020-21 season around Dec. 1, though he said last month that his “best guess” is that the season won’t start until at least January.
The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Finals on Oct. 11. The draft will take place five weeks after last season officially wrapped up.
The initial goal was to have about a seven week offseason, but Silver wants to play a standard 82-game season next year in front of fans at teams’ respective arenas. Figuring out how to do that — especially with coronavirus cases spiking in the United States again — is something the league is still working toward.
Starting the season in January would result in the 2021 Finals likely reaching into September, something that could end up altering the sports calendar in the future.
Though it’s unclear exactly when the season will kick off, the NBA draft finally has a date. That’s progress.
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