Every May, while much of the basketball world is focused on the NBA conference finals, about 70 hopeful NBA players gather in Chicago to be measured, interviewed, then run through drills and scrimmages, all under the watchful eyes of nearly every NBA GM. It’s one of the biggest gatherings of front office personnel on the calendar.
Big gatherings are out in 2020, so now the NBA Draft Combine is going virtual. And regional.
In what’s likely to become one of the most wide-open draft processes in years, prospective players would attend selected regional team facilities throughout the country, sources said. The plan would include team doctors administering physicals at local hospitals and league officials recording body measurables and putting players through physical testing at team facilities, sources said.
The date for the combine has yet to be set, although it is going to be in September. The 2020 NBA Draft Lottery — also virtual — will take place Thursday night.
Top prospects rarely workout at the combine, but guys lower on the board can help their cause — a mid-second round guy can push up to early second/late first. What moves guys up boards is often the interview portion, or when they post a wingspan or vertical leap that turns heads. That said, teams do their homework on potential picks and tend to know who guys are and what they can do before the combine.
The pandemic has upended the entire NBA draft process, just as it has upended daily life in America. Teams are not getting to talk to prospects, work them out, or get a better understanding of who they might draft. The 2020 NBA Draft Combine takes on a little more weight because of that.
It just has to be virtual this year, too.