It’s NBA draft week! Do you know what that means. Or maybe not.
That means the fortunes of a few dozen NBA Draft prospects are about to change. Dreams are to be realized. Busts and interceptions will be dotted throughout the draft. Jobs will be solidified in NBA front offices. Other jobs will hang by a thread after Thursday night, and we may not know it yet. The draft is one of the most important days on the NBA calendar as it opens up to all kinds of coverage, changes through trades, and anticipation for the next wave of NBA players and stars. potential.
You may have a lot of questions about what draft is, how you can consume it, and what implications it might have. Well we here at Athleticism have anticipated these questions and are here to help you best prepare for Thursday night’s chaos. Let’s dive into some of these potential questions and give you answers and information.
When is the draft and how can I watch it?
Thursday June 23. It starts at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. You can determine your local time zone times between these two US time zone bookends (sorry, Hawaii and Alaska). The draft will air in its entirety on ESPN. Check your local listings.
Now that I know when it is, what is the NBA Draft?
Interesting question! The NBA Draft is essentially how the influx of new young talent enters this beloved league each year. This is an annual event in which 60 selections (only 58 this year, due to tampering penalties against Miami and Milwaukee) are made over two rounds. Each team receives several picks in each draft: one in the first round and one in the second round. These picks can then be moved around in trades over the years, which is how you end up with teams having more or fewer picks than expected – or none at all.
So any player can be drafted anywhere? Does this include current players?
It is not possible to select any player. Players who are under 22 and have not completed their four years of college eligibility must declare themselves for the draft. If you are an early entrant into the NBA Draft, you must be one year away from graduating from high school. Players can come from many backgrounds. While waiting to be eligible to declare themselves for the draft, prospects can play overseas, in the G League or even just hang out and drive a cab like they were Dave Cowens in a 1970s offseason.
International players are also eligible to enter the NBA Draft. If they are 22 or older and have not yet declared themselves for a draft, they are automatically placed in the prospect pool. Otherwise, they must declare before reaching the age of 22.
Current players are not available. It’s not a fantasy draft you do in a friend’s league or on a video game. Once a player has gone through the draft process (whether drafted or not) and signed to the NBA, they can no longer enter the draft. Sorry to blow up hope that your team can catch Steph Curry or LeBron James right now.
Wait, high school players can’t be drafted?
Not anymore! They were. Until the 2006 draft, you could drop out of high school, forgo college or the international game, and enter the draft and still get a cool “prom to the pros” idiom attached to your biography. The NBA has stopped allowing this. Why? The billionaire owners and front office executives who work for them couldn’t help but invest high picks and tens of millions of dollars in teenagers straight out of algebra class. Of course, there were plenty of success stories. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, LeBron James and Dwight Howard can attest to this, among many others.
However, not everyone who came out of high school was as good as these guys. Some have even gone bankrupt in the NBA world. So the NBA’s solution was to make them wait…one more year…because we all know it’s a lot easier to trust a 19 year old with millions of dollars and responsibilities in an industry billions of dollars than trusting an 18-year-old. -Age.
Can players refuse to be drafted by certain teams?
They certainly can! It’s rare, and often the bluff is called. Ricky Rubio didn’t want to come to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2009, and he even played two more years overseas before finally joining the Wolves. Players can be selected by a franchise and outright refuse to show up. If they keep playing this chicken game, they basically have to go play overseas if they want to play professional basketball. They can’t just go and sign with another team.
Two of the most famous incidents occurred in 1989 and 1999. In 1989, Danny Ferry was selected second overall by the LA Clippers. He refused to go play for this franchise. Instead, he called their bluff not to trade him to another team. Ferry signed to play professionally in Italy during the 1989-90 season. He was eventually traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers and started his NBA career in 1990.
In 1999, Steve Francis was selected second overall by the then Vancouver Grizzlies. Francis was visibly and audibly unhappy with the prospect of going to Canada to play NBA basketball. Everything was cited as a reason not to play there for Francis. Taxes. Distance from his home in Maryland. God’s will. Eventually, he was traded to the Houston Rockets and became an All-Star.
These moments are quite rare.
Are NBA Draft pick contracts guaranteed?
Some of them are! If you are selected in the first round of the NBA Draft and sign your rookie contract, the first two years of your career are guaranteed. Even if you stink or get hurt and never play, you will get that money. The next two years are squad options, which means they can decide if they want to give you the fixed rate based on rookie-scale offers for each first-round pick spot. The more you are drafted, the higher your salary. Second-round deals are more complicated and not as guaranteed, unless you have a shrewd agent out there to fight for your future financial earnings.
Which team has the most picks in the draft?
The San Antonio Spurs have four picks (Nos. 9, 20, 25 and 38). Three of them are in the first round and one in the second round.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have four picks (Nos. 19, 40, 48 and 50) including three in the second round to go along with their only first-round selection.
The Houston Rockets (Nos. 3, 17 and 26) and Spurs have the most first-round picks with three each.
Does one of the teams have no choice?
The Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz are currently without a pick in the first or second round of the draft. They could acquire them through trade or buy them on draft night.
Who should be the first pick in the draft?
It will likely be either Auburn power forward Jabari Smith Jr. or Gonzaga high prospect Chet Holmgren. Those are the two consensus options right now to become No. 1. There’s an outside chance that power forward Paolo Banchero out of Duke could end up as a surprise selection.
Are they good? Will they be the next LeBron James or Steph Curry?
They must be pretty good! Smith is a very athletic and quick big man who can really shoot the ball deep. Holmgren is a 7-foot super-skinny with guarding skills, shot-blocking ability and a good jumper. Banchero is a strong point forward who needs some work on his shooting, but he can work his way into a lot of advantageous situations.
They’re unlikely to be as good as historically league-changing players like LeBron or Steph.
What’s the weirdest thing in the history of the draft?
Two things stand out to me the most: the territorial draft picks and how future Hall of Famer Walt “Clyde” Frazier found out he was drafted into the ABA before playing in the NBA.
Territorial picks occurred in the draft from its inception in 1949 until the draft system was rebuilt in 1966. Prior to 1966, the NBA was desperate to create national markets. So top college players got the right of first refusal for their hometown NBA franchises. A team could forgo their first-round pick and select a prospect within 50 miles of the home arena. You didn’t really have a choice, so anyone trying to experience the world outside of their hometown wasn’t necessarily going to make it as a professional basketball player.
Examples of this are Wilt Chamberlain ending up with his hometown Philadelphia Warriors when he joined the league in 1959. Hall of Famer Guy Rodgers was also drafted by the Warriors the previous year of 1958. Chamberlain went to Kansas to college, but he grew up in Philadelphia and went to high school there. So the warriors argued that they should be allowed to take it. Tommy Heinsohn played his Hall of Fame career with the Boston Celtics because he went to Holy Cross University. Oscar Robertson left the University of Cincinnati to play for the Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings).
As for Walt Frazier’s story, he was the fifth overall pick in the 1967 NBA Draft. He was also drafted into the ABA by the Denver Larks, who changed their name to the Denver Rockets, then became the Denver Nuggets franchise we know today. The way Frazier found out about his selection for the Larks was by reading it on the front page of his school newspaper at Southern Illinois University. It’s very similar to the story of Al Attles finding out he got picked by the Warriors franchise because his friend heard it on the radio.
Where can I find real-time interim coverage of how things are going?
I’m so glad you asked this question! We will have a fantastic live blog with all types of analysis and tidbits throughout the days leading up to the draft and during the draft itself at Athleticism (the site you are reading this on). And you can watch a live broadcast on the Internet through Athleticism NBA Show Podcast Twitter Feed. I will be hosting it with Mo Dakhil, Jay King and lots of fun and knowledgeable guests.
(Photo: Brad Penner/USA Today)