Much like the NFL Draft in April, the 2020 NBA Draft will be substantially scaled down this year.
Airing on Wednesday, November 18th at 7 PM ET, the NBA Draft will take place virtually, with Commissioner Adam Silver and Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum announcing picks from ESPN’s Bristol studios. ESPN announced the change to the draft broadcast on Thursday, with further announcements about the network’s coverage coming.
There isn’t much other information available yet, but this isn’t at all surprising. The NFL Draft was dramatically scaled back this spring, with Roger Goodell announcing picks from his basement. It went off far better than anyone expected, without significant technical glitches from the league, its TV partners, and team personnel. Holding the NBA Draft at ESPN’s studios will probably reduce the potential for any technical disasters even further, but it will probably also strip out the absurdity we saw when watching Goodell in his basement.
And while draft picks will be joining the coverage virtually (as they did during the NFL Draft), it will still be somewhat disappointing to not see draftees in their over the top suits tower over Silver after being picked.
The NBA Draft also won’t come close to the massive viewership that the first round of the NFL Draft drew in April for a variety of reasons, but it never really does anyway.
Overall, this is a prudent move from the NBA and ESPN, and while I doubt this is the norm once the sports world starts transitioning toward something resembling normalcy, I do think it was the best option for 2020.