OKC Thunder: Could an August 2020 Draft inspire a permanent change?

OKC Thunder select 25 and 53 in 2020. 2019 NBA Draft board (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder select 25 and 53 in 2020. 2019 NBA Draft board (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder and NBA world prepare now for an August NBA Draft, and they could find that this is one delay that should stick

As the world is in the middle of a global pandemic the NBA world is having to adapt. From suspending the season to airing live streams of lol games, players facing off in NBA 2K, and a prerecorded horse competition. No one knows where this all leads, the only thing the OKC Thunder and teams have to do now, is preparing for the NBA Draft.

One of the only things that are certain in this crazy world, is that the NBA Draft will not happen at the end of June as originally planned. However, could this be the one bright spot of this crazy 2019-20 NBA season that will forever live in history? Could this be a scheduling change that is actually for the better?

As it stands right now the NBA conducts its draft right after crowning an NBA Champion, and right before the start of the annual free agent frenzy. Now, with the NBA Draft in August, it still is not yet known if that also signals a delay to NBA Free Agency.

The NBA has a real chance to easily change the order of the NBA offseason, for the better. No, that does not mean making sure the NBA Draft is always in August, but just after the rush of Free Agency.

The NFL follows this model. Their free agency period starts months before the NFL Draft. Why would this be beneficial for the NBA to adopt? Well, look no farther than the OKC Thunder.

While it has seemed to work out, think of the headspace OKC Thunder general manager Sam Presti might have been in during last year’s NBA Draft. After yet another disappointing NBA Playoff stint, the plan at that point was to run it back, try again, and improve the team with little salary flexibility.

Instead, a month later, Paul George backed out of his commitment to the franchise to fly west and join new Clippers wing Kawhi Lennord in hopes The Klaw could deliver him to a championship.

Would the OKC Thunder have still made their selection of Darius Bazley in the NBA Draft if he no longer had Paul George or Russell Westbrook? Looking specifically at the Paul George trade, would that treasure trove of draft assets make Sam Presti think about moving up the draft board?

Still, though, the selection of Darius Bazley was more clear after the offseason dust settled. Sam Prest passed on an NBA ready player in Brandon Clarke for the upside project of Darius Bazley.

However, it will not always break that easy most offseasons. When the OKC Thunder lost Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors on July 4th, 2016, the team did not own their first-round pick months prior.

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If they had thought, you could bet that Presti would be selecting for a team that anticipated to have the best scorer in the sport. Just as they had Al Horford lined up to join the squad and have a reunion with his college coach, a month later before KD’s departure nixed it.

With the number of marquee players that move in the offseason, it just makes sense to let that dust settle before carrying out the NBA Draft.

The only downside for the athletes themselves, as the NCAA allows players to return to school after getting feedback from the NBA, they need to know their future as soon as possible so they still have a scholarship, to go back to at their Universities, and those Universities understand their roster for the upcoming season.

I would suggest that the NBA simply flips the order, hold the NBA Draft at the start of July, and Free Agency at the end of June.

The NBAPA might not like it, because it creates a harder deadline for them to decide where to sign next, but if you look at the big names such as Kevin Durant they say they have their minds made up for their next team while still fighting for their current one.

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This change could be one the NBA decides to keep around.