After multiple delays, the NBA draft starts Wednesday. Like everyone else in 2020, this year’s class of players has tried to make the best of their difficult circumstances.
The pandemic pushed back the conclusion to the 2019-20 regular season, and the NBA calendar for the upcoming season has shifted to a late December start.
That means the draft and free agency will be compressed into two weeks before training camps open early next month.
For the first time in more than two decades, the San Antonio Spurs will have a draft lottery selection.
The Spurs missed the playoffs for the first time since 1997 and thus have the No. 11 pick in this year’s draft. Here’s what to watch from San Antonio.
Will the Spurs do anything, something besides selecting their pick at No. 11?
The Spurs have been one of the most conservative teams in the league when it comes to making any kind of trade.
The last significant deal they made was the Kawhi Leonard trade and it only happened because Leonard wanted out of San Antonio.
DeRozan recently exercised his player option for the 2020-21 season. He’s a trade candidate because he has one year left on his current contract. He could also play out the season in San Antonio and then go to free agency.
There have also been rumors that Golden State would possibly be interested in trading the No. 2 pick to San Antonio for LaMarcus Aldridge, who is also in the final year of his contract.
The Spurs would likely have to take back a large salary for that to happen, possibly Andrew Wiggins.
Still, adding the No. 2 pick to the Spurs young core would bring about major excitement and promise.
Who are the prospects the Spurs are looking at?
If the Spurs were to somehow get the No. 2 pick, then the consensus has been any team at that position would take either Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman or Lamelo Ball.
Those are the players expected to go in the top three, but the Spurs have also been keen on Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Deni Avdija.
Avdija is a projected top-five pick and reportedly conducted a private workout with the Spurs in Atlanta prior to the draft.
If San Antonio stays at No. 11, the latest Ringer mock draft predicts the Spurs would take Villanova forward Saddiq Bey. Here is the assessment on Bey and some other possible options from The Ringer’s website.
"The Spurs love Bey, who has a floor as a 3-and-D style wing but provides upside as a scorer off the dribble. Washington forward Jaden McDaniels and Kentucky guard Tyrese Maxey have also been mentioned as targets for the Spurs. However, they’re one of the many teams looking to move up and select (Patrick) Williams or (Onyeka) Okongwu. If Okongwu is on the board, front office executives believe he’d be the pick.
In this mock draft, Patrick Williams, a freshman wing out of Florida State, is expected to be selected No. 7 by Detroit, but if the Spurs can move up to No. 6, they would be able to draft him.
Here is part of his assessment from The Ringer:
Williams has been one of the beneficiaries of the extended predraft process, as teams have become infatuated with his blend of size and skill. Even if he never reaches stardom, he has foundational skills to have a long career because of his defensive versatility.
Draft goes virtual, Spurs hosting virtual draft party
The draft is usually held in June in New York, where Adam Silver announces the first-round picks. The top players sit at tables in the front of the arena and when their names are called, they put on a hat with the logo of the team that picked them and walk onto the stage for a handshake and a photo with the commissioner.
This year, Silver will be announcing the picks from the ESPN campus in Bristol, Connecticut.
Players have been shipped boxes of hats so they can choose the one they need when their name is called.
Make yourself at homecourt, Admiral.— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) November 16, 2020
We’re revealing our brand new #SpursFiesta court this Wednesday during the 2020 Spurs Virtual Draft Watch Party pres. by @ATT 👀
Join the Official Facebook Fan Group to be a part of the first look: https://t.co/9nkdRPqrjx pic.twitter.com/MtPTCuh5E5
Spurs fans have to join the team’s official Facebook Fan Group to take part in the watch party.
The 2020 NBA Draft starts at 7 p.m. CT.