One thing that won’t change: Fans will surely still find reason to moan about — or cheer — their team’s picks. Here’s what else there is to know about the NBA draft:
Wednesday, 8 p.m., ESPN
Streaming available on the Watch ESPN App.
Minnesota owns the top pick, Golden State will select second and Charlotte will go third. Here’s the full lineup for the first round:
- Minnesota Timberwolves (19-45)
- Golden State Warriors (15-50)
- Charlotte Hornets (23-42)
- Chicago Bulls (22-43)
- Cleveland Cavaliers (19-46)
- Atlanta Hawks (20-47)
- Detroit Pistons (20-46)
- New York Knicks (21-45)
- Washington Wizards (25-47)
- Phoenix Suns (34-39)
- San Antonio Spurs (32-39)
- Sacramento Kings (31-41)
- New Orleans Pelicans (30-42)
- Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies) (48-24)
- Orlando Magic (33-40)
- Portland Trail Blazers (35-39)
- Minnesota Timberwolves (from Brooklyn Nets via Atlanta Hawks) (19-45)
- Dallas Mavericks (43-32)
- Brooklyn Nets (from Philadelphia 76ers via Los Angeles Clippers) (35-37)
- Miami Heat (44-29)
- Philadelphia 76ers (from Oklahoma City Thunder via Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers) (43-30)
- Denver Nuggets (from Houston Rockets) (46-27)
- Utah Jazz (44-28)
- Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers) (56-17)
- Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver Nuggets) (44-28)
- Boston Celtics (48-24)
- New York Knicks (via Los Angeles Clippers) (21-45)
- Los Angeles Lakers (52-19)
- Toronto Raptors (53-19)
- Boston Celtics (from Milwaukee Bucks via Phoenix Suns) (48-24)
Aha, here’s the tricky part. Unlike last year, when Zion Williamson was a lock for the top pick, there’s not much consensus on who this year’s No. 1 pick will be. Instead, there’s a tier of top prospects consisting of Memphis freshman James Wiseman, Georgia freshman Anthony Edwards and guard LaMelo Ball, who eschewed the NCAA altogether to play overseas. It’s anyone’s guess the order in which they’ll be selected.
Other high-quality targets include USC freshman Onyeka Okongwu, probably the most well-rounded center in the class; Killian Hayes, an exciting lefty guard from France; Dayton sophomore Obi Toppin, the reigning national college basketball player of the year; Tyrese Haliburton, a sophomore from Iowa State; and Deni Avdija, a versatile wing from Israel.
While there may not be a surefire star — though many believe Ball has the most potential to become a franchise face — teams feel there are good opportunities to find capable role players who could have staying power in the league. Basketball nerds, rejoice.
What’s different this year
Top prospects and their families won’t be invited to New York for draft night and there won’t be any handshakes between Silver and the new rookie class because everything will be virtual. Silver and Tatum will be on hand in Connecticut to announce the first and second rounds, respectively, from an ESPN studio while select prospects watch from home, similar to how the WNBA and NFL drafts went this year. We can only hope prospects still choose to don interesting suits.
To help ease the disappointment of missing out on the full draft-night experience — and to increase the quality of their home setup — the league reportedly sent the top 30 presumed picks a kit that includes speakers, headphones and an iPhone complete with a tripod so they can film themselves.
Also different? Draftees will probably have just a couple weeks between draft night and the beginning of training camp, because Wednesday kicks off a whirlwind stretch for the NBA. After the draft, free agency begins Nov. 20, and signings can be made official Nov. 22. The 2020-21 season begins a month after that, with teams probably opening training camps sometime in the first week of December. Buckle up, the NBA is back.
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