The status of the NBA draft is one of the more complicated issues facing the league during its hiatus.
While no official change has yet been made to the draft's scheduled June 25 date, questions swirl as it relates to how the pre-draft process will play out. Will teams have the ability to meet with potential prospects? Have a combine — virtual or otherwise? Observe live workouts in any format? All of that as issues relating to the league's salary cap structure, ticket and television revenue, and player compensation (among myriad others) hang over the conversation of resuming play.
But some clarity might be coming on the draft front. On Monday, the league circulated guidelines for the pre-draft process during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. In those guidelines, the following mandates were laid out:
Sources: The NBA has given its franchises guidelines for the pre-Draft process during coronavirus pandemic, stating teams are allowed to conduct virtual meetings with prospects but prohibited from in-person workouts or requesting/watching live video.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 6, 2020
Until further notice, NBA teams will receive up to four hours per prospect in virtual meeting during predraft, sources said. Teams are prohibited from conducting more than two hours of virtual meetings with a player in a week. https://t.co/bkg56jm6C0— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 6, 2020
Teams will reportedly receive a four-hour allotment of virtual meeting time per prospect, with the stipulation that teams cannot use more than two of said hours in a given week. However, teams will be prohibited from requesting in-person workouts or live video — all per Charania.
A moratorium on in-person workouts in the wake of a global health crisis was to be expected. Interesting is the league disallowing prospects to virtually work out for teams. That further serves to emphasize the impact this altered and abbreviated pre-draft process will put on organizations — without the ability to cram in evaluations based on in-persons workouts, unprepared teams will surely be at a disadvantage compared to those that have done their homework all year.
Still, the question of if or when the 2019-20 season might resume and conclude looms over all. If the NBA was somehow able to return in June or later in the summer, would the league really hold the draft mid-season, or during the hiatus? Declarations from top prospects have begun to trickle out, but it remains to be seen if the league will budge on its Early Entry Eligibility Deadline of April 26 with so much uncertain.
For now, it appears uncertainty will continue to reign.