We all know the NBA is back, but this is one of the things that I was most fascinated in and kind of lost in the shuffle of the schedule was the Draft. It's a staple at the end of June, which makes sense based on the college hoops schedule and the NBA schedule. You have a couple weeks after the NBA Finals ends, players are a couple months removed from college hoops going through the Combine, workouts, meetings and then the Draft.
From a college standpoint, which is where I care way more, we need to know what the last date is going to be in order for guys to decide to come back. We saw the punter from Arizona State get a waiver to come back to college after going undrafted because he couldn't work out for teams due to coronavirus. That simply can't happen in college hoops this year - even though this idea should be executed going forward. Teams are going to be back on campus and rosters for college hoops teams are going to be finalized.
I'm going to assume the last date to pull out of the Draft will be August/September. Whenever we see people getting back on campus that's going to be the date so kids are back in class, etc. Now who does this really impact?
Iowa - Luka Garza
Villanova - Saddiq Bey
Baylor - Jared Butler/MaCio Teague
Illinois - Ayo/Kofi Cockburn
Tennessee - Yves Pons
To me these are the 5 teams with the biggest decisions out there. Granted, Saddiq Bey is all but gone for Nova. He's going to be a top-20 pick and it doesn't make any sense for him to return honestly. But technically he still has the option. If he returns, they are the heavy preseason favorite. Luka Garza is in a unique position here, because he is going to get a ton of offers overseas where he can make good money. I don't think he's necessarily an NBA player, but if he returns Iowa gets back the preseason NPOY. Sticking in the Big 10, Illinois has the potential to win the Big 10 if Ayo and Kofi return. If I had to guess, I think Ayo leaves, Cockburn returns, which keeps them in that top-5 in the conference area. And then there's Yves Pons for Tennessee. The reason he's important is he's their best defender and he's versatile which fits Barnes scheme. You lose him, you have to really scramble to make up what he does on the defensive side and I don't think they have there.
Remember you're missing out on possible summer practice and workout time with these guys figuring out their career decision. There's never really been anything like it. And from the NBA side you have a quick turnaround to that December 1 season start. What about Summer Leagues and rookie workouts?
How teams handle this as kids are still reclassifying and potentially joining college teams for this season is going to be wild. Then just toss in the Draft as colleges start practicing. Not to mention there's likely no workouts, you have to rely strictly on tape and Zoom interviews. It's going to be a real weird time.