The NBA announced a 22-team season return plan Thursday, and included was a new potential date and an explanation on 2020 Draft Lottery positioning.
The 2020 NBA Draft Lottery will take place Aug. 25 (if the season resumes July 31), with the actual 2020 NBA Draft rescheduled for Oct. 15 (also assuming the season resumes July 31).
Here's an explanation on the draft lottery rules from the league's press release:
The 14 NBA Lottery teams would be the eight teams that do not participate in the restart and the six teams that participate in the restart but do not qualify for the playoffs. These teams would be seeded in the lottery and assigned odds based on their records through games of March 11. The 16 playoff teams would draft in inverse order of their combined records across regular-season games and seeding games.
Basing the lottery odds on records through March 11 ensures that teams go to Florida for the season restart and never tank.
For example, if the Wizards lost their first couple games during the restart and the Orlando Magic won their first few games and clinched the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference as a result, then Washington would have no incentive to win its remaining regular season games. So, regardless of how poorly the Wizards might play in the restart, they won't jump over the Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks or any other team and secure better odds of winning the lottery.
How does the lottery format impact the Boston Celtics?
The Celtics could have three first-round picks in the 2020 draft -- their own, the Milwaukee Bucks' pick (top-7 protected) and the Memphis Grizzlies' pick (top-6 protected). Boston already will get its own pick and the Bucks' selection, but we don't yet know if the Grizzlies pick will convey. The Grizzlies will enter the restart with a 3.5-game lead for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. If they collapse and miss the playoffs, they'd have the 14th-best odds (the worst odds) of winning the lottery.
Put simply, if the Grizzlies were in the lottery, the chances of them vaulting into the top four and keeping their pick are very slim.
If the Grizzlies miss the playoffs they'll be the 14th seed in the lottery, meaning there would be a 2.4% chance that the pick would jump into the top-4 and roll over to 2021 and a 97.6% chance of it being 14th.— Ryan Bernardoni AC⚡️AB (@dangercart) June 4, 2020
If they did jump into the top four, and we've seen many draft lottery miracles happen, then Memphis would send its 2021 first-round pick to Boston unprotected. The most likely scenario is the Grizzlies securing the No. 8 seed and finishing outside the lottery, thus giving the Celtics their 2020 first-round pick.