The NBA is bringing 22 teams to the ESPN Wild World of Sports complex in Orlando to restart the season and head to the playoffs. That will start with eight regular-season games per team, potentially followed by a play-in between the eight and nine seeds (if the ninth-seeded team is within four games of a playoff spot).
After that, expect the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery and Combine to come in August, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic. Almost certainly those will happen after the 16-team playoff field is set and the non-playoff teams head home from the Disney complex.
The next question becomes: Are the NBA’s lottery odds locked in as of when the season was suspended?
In theory, the Washington Wizards — a team invited to Orlando — could go 0-8 and improve its lottery odds, going from the ninth-worst record to seventh. While Bradley Beal and company would not go to the Walt Disney World complex to tank, it is possible for them to improve their lottery odds.
The simple way around that for the league is to lock-in the lottery odds as of when play was suspended. While the number of games played by these teams is not even, with the flattened draft lottery odds there is not a dramatic advantage between teams. The league has not yet announced if the lottery odds will be locked in or not.
If the lottery odds are locked in, this is what they would look like (with odds of No. 1 pick):
- Golden State Warriors (14%)
- Cleveland Cavaliers (14%)
- Minnesota Timberwolves (14%)
- Atlanta Hawks (12.5%)
- Detroit Pistons (10.5%)
- New York Knicks (9%)
- Chicago Bulls (7.5%)
- Charlotte Hornets (6%)
This is considered a weak draft but, as always, there are players near the top who could help these teams.
As the NBA lays out its schedule for a return to play and the postseason, expect a date for the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery and Combine as well (with both taking place in Orlando).