WNBA draft 2020: Date, time, TV and draft order

There will be a semblance of sports normalcy on Friday night when the 2020 WNBA draft goes on as scheduled despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s been one month without live sports and the league is hosting the annual event remotely to keep everyone safe but also give draftees their special moment. It’s also an opportunity to bring more attention to the league with nothing else on the sporting schedule.

“Even though we will be doing it in a remote, unique fashion because of what’s happening in our country right now I still feel like the buzz and the excitement is higher than ever,” ESPN analyst Holly Rowe told reporters on a pre-draft conference call.

“I’m just really excited that people really care, the buzz is there and I feel like, for me anyway, it’s filling this hole in my heart because we don’t have sports right now. And it’s even more magnificent because we all want something good and positive right now in sports.”

The buzz has largely been around likely No. 1 pick Sabrina Ionescu, the Oregon star who became the first 2K-1K-1K player in NCAA Division I history this season. The New York Liberty hold the first overall pick.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2020 WNBA draft, including when to watch, how to watch and draft order.

When is the WNBA draft?

The draft will be held Friday, April 17 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. It will go three rounds with 12 picks in each.

Where is the 2020 draft held?

The draft is typically held at Nike headquarters in New York City with the orange carpet rolled out for prospective draftees. New York has become an epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis and, combined with social distancing protocols for the entire nation, the draft will now be held virtually.

Commissioner Cathy Engelbert will host her first draft remotely with prospects also joining in via remote locations.

How to watch the WNBA draft

The draft will air on ESPN’s main channel Friday night and can also be streamed online. It was initially scheduled to air on ESPN2, despite no live sports airing on the main channel. The station was going to run a movie, but switched course after pushback.

Who will be the No. 1 pick?

Sabrina Ionescu is the favorite to be taken No. 1 overall. After that, it gets a little bit more complicated. Here are 10 NCAA stars to watch during draft night.

What’s the draft order?

Oregon's Ruthy Hebard, right, speaks next to Sabrina Ionescu during NCAA college basketball Pac-12 media day in San Francisco, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard could both end up in New York. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The New York Liberty won the four-team draft lottery last fall and will have the No. 1 pick. They added to their haul in a three-team trade that sent MVP Tina Charles to the Washington Mystics.

The Dallas Wings, Indiana Fever and Atlanta Dream finished second through fourth in the lottery. The next eight picks are determined by record.

The Liberty and Wings combined hold half of the picks in the first round with three each. The Liberty have the most overall with six while the Las Vegas Aces only have one at No. 33 overall.

[Five things to know for the 2020 WNBA draft]

First Round

  1. New York Liberty

  2. Dallas Wings

  3. Indiana Fever

  4. Atlanta Dream

  5. Dallas Wings

  6. Minnesota Lynx

  7. Dallas Wings

  8. Chicago Sky

  9. New York Liberty

  10. Phoenix Mercury

  11. Seattle Storm

  12. New York Liberty

Second round: 13-Liberty, 14-Fever, 15-Liberty, 16-Lynx, 17-Dream, 18-Mercury, 19-Storm, 20-Los Angeles Sparks, 21-Wings, 22-Sparks, 23-Connecticut Sun, 24-Mystics.

Third round: 25-Dream, 26-Liberty, 27-Dream, 28-Fever, 29-Mercury, 30-Sky, 31-Storm, 32-Sky, 33-Las Vegas Aces, 34-Sparks, 25-Sun, 36-Mystics.

How can I get involved virtually?

Teams are unveiling virtual parties throughout the week to get fans involved from afar. The Liberty are hosting a show beginning at 6 p.m. ET featuring draftees, coaches, general manager and current and former Liberty players.

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