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NBA teams fighting for later draft, potentially pushing it to August

This change in schedule would impact several Wildcats hoping to be pros next season.

Florida v Kentucky Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images

The Kentucky Wildcats have created one of the best programs in college basketball. With that success comes many high-level players ready to take their game to the next level, one reason recruits from all around the country commit to UK.

This coming draft, the Wildcats were projected to have at least three players taken with a possibility of up to five players declaring for the draft.

While some were destined to hear their dreams made into a reality on June 25, it’s starting to seem more and more likely like that won’t happen.

With the coronavirus currently sweeping America and spreading like wildfire, the June 25 draft could easily be pushed back, and the first news of possible movement has been broken.

According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Jonathan Givony, many team executives are pleading their case for the NBA Draft to be pushed back, potentially moving it into August.

“Multiple top team executives expressed to ESPN their belief that shifting the draft date would give organizations more time to salvage the essential elements of the pre-draft process, possibly allowing for in-person workouts, interviews and medical evaluations of prospects that current social distancing and shelter-in-place guidelines make impossible.”

There is really no good estimate on when the virus will truly peak and if there will be a second round of it. While models can predict, it will be up to the federal government and individual state governments to lift stay-at-home orders.

While most are wanting to get the economy back in action before June 25, NBA executives, with the league currently suspended, are pushing for a later date which seems ideal for all parties.

That said, Tyrese Maxey is a consensus lottery pick while Immanuel Quickley, Nick Richards and Ashton Hagans are all expected to be drafted as well, so any date changes may not affect their decision to leave.

Saying this, it may affect what EJ Montgomery decides to do, as he’s viewed as someone who could go either way with his decision to go pro or return to school. If the draft gets delayed, that could in eventually allow prospects to actually work out with teams, something they’re currently barred from doing. If Montgomery gets to meet with teams and showcase his skills, that may help sway him to go pro.

On the other hand, those meetings could also result in teams reiterating that Montgomery needs to return to school and would be making a huge mistake going pro now, which seems to be the consensus view on him.

It’s also worth noting that the NFL had a similar issue with many teams advocating for their draft to be pushed back as well. However, the league held firm and maintained the original April 23rd date, so perhaps the NBA will follow suit and keep its original draft day as well.

Another complication of moving the draft into August or later is that’s when college athletes begin school. That puts college coaches in a bind for filling out their rosters for next season, assuming the withdrawal deadline would also get pushed back from its original June 3rd deadline.

This is going to be a very complicated summer in the sports world, and the NBA will be at the center of it between the draft and hopes of resuming its 2019-20 season at some point.