Teams actually need to do their homework under new NBA Draft guidelines

Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images /

The NBA has issued its pre-draft guidelines for the 2020 NBA Draft, and during this time of quarantine, teams will need to do their homework more so than ever.

The actual date of the 2020 NBA Draft is still entirely up in the air. We never got to see many of these prospects elevate their stock during March Madness, and the league won’t be holding its annual draft until after the 2019-20 campaign reaches a conclusion of some sort, which we won’t have an update on until May 1 at the earliest.

With that being said, the league still has to have some kind of contingency plan in place for the oh-so-crucial pre-draft process that usually begins every spring. Between the NCAA Tournament, NBA Draft Combine, and group/individual pre-draft workouts, teams are missing out on a lot of face time to watch these guys play in person.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, they’ll be trading that actual face time for FaceTime, as the NBA has issued teams their guidelines for the pre-draft process.

2020 NBA Pre-Draft guidelines:

  • Teams are allowed to conduct virtual meetings with prospects
  • No in-person workouts
  • Cannot request or watch live video of a workout
  • Teams will receive up to four hours per prospect in virtual meetings during pre-draft process
  • Teams cannot conduct more than two hours of virtual meetings with a player in a given week

Under these guidelines, it’s pretty clear how important it will be for team scouts and executives alike to do their homework for the 2020 NBA Draft.

There’s limited tape available since these prospects weren’t even able to finish off their conference tournaments before every sport under the sun was canceled, but what film does exists has now become more crucial. This makes it tricky to truly evaluate a prospect, but on the other hand, we’ve seen many times how one great in-person workout can be enough to sway some pretty major decisions in NBA Draft history.

No one will ever forget Darko Milicic‘s legendary workout for the Detroit Pistons back in 2004, which turned out to be one of the greatest “what if”s in NBA Draft history. One could even include the Phoenix Suns watching Deandre Ayton dunk on nobody in a private workout with the Phoenix Suns as an example of how easy it is to choose convenience and accessibility over diving deeper into the tape on the kid playing overseas, Luka Doncic. Ayton is nowhere near a bust, but it’s pretty clear who should’ve went No. 1 in 2018.

To be fair, this 2020 class is considered relatively weak, devoid of franchise-altering talent, so perhaps teams won’t be punished too severely when there’s not much separation once you get into the late lottery. However, there are legitimate NBA players in this group, and in such a flat class, the teams that really dive into the film and scour over the stat sheet are more likely to be rewarded than those that typically save most of their evaluation until the in-person workout stage of the process.

Every team does its own form of due diligence in scouting high school games, college games, NCAA Tournament games, NBA Draft Combine events and in-person workouts, but with so many of those off the table, the ones that really crack down on the available tape and take the time to look at the numbers could have a much better time in the upcoming draft — whenever that winds up being.

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