OKC Thunder: Teams push for draft date delay to properly vet prospects

OKC Thunder draft: Isaac Okoro #23 of the Auburn Tigers warms up prior to the game . (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder draft: Isaac Okoro #23 of the Auburn Tigers warms up prior to the game . (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

With the NBA suspended the draft is also postponed and teams are pushing for delays to allow for proper vetting of prospects. The OKC Thunder could have one or two first-round picks.

With the season in constant flux NBA updates on the status of the 2020 Draft are trickling in. For the OKC Thunder what happens with the remainder of the season carries additional weight tied to this season’s draft.

As of the suspension, the Thunder ranked ninth overall in the NBA. That’s significant because the first-round draft pick owned by the franchise must be conveyed to the Philadelphia 76ers if they are 10th or higher.

A return this season would mean the team could elect to try to slide down a few positions in order to retain that pick. Or General Manager Sam Presti might elect to not worry about it since they’ll still have a first-round pick via the Denver Nuggets collected in the trade of Jerami Grant.

No decision will be imminent. In fact, the earliest any decision is likely to be made would be May 1st; a date NBA Commissioner has stuck hard to since the suspension began.

In an ESPN article by Adrian Wojnarowski and Jonathan Givony the writers noted teams are pushing for the draft to be delayed as long as possible. The reason is teams need time to bring in prospects for workouts, review their medical records and to interview them.

Despite the suspension of the season teams aren’t allowed to view current workout footage of prospects as Woj and Givony note:

"In a memo obtained by ESPN on Monday, the NBA informed teams that organizations are prohibited from conducting in-person workouts or interviews with draft-eligible players until further notice."

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Teams can talk to prospects but there are strict rules and guidelines to follow. A four-hour time limit is in place. Presumably, that means in total not different occasions of four hours.

That again limits clubs since they’ll be basing these interviews on what they’ve seen of the player prior to their College season or International play ending.

"NBA teams will be allowed to conduct virtual interviews with draft prospects but are limited to four hours total for any single player, the memo said.Teams are also prohibited from requesting video of recent workouts that players might conduct outside of a team environment, the memo said. Teams can only study film — such as college games and practice sessions — that occurred before the NBA’s suspension of play."

Think about how little teams have to go on without the benefit of a full NCAA season or March Madness to pull from.

As the ESPN article notes it’s expected franchises will push for a draft date in either August or possibly September. These dates are clearly dependent on whether the NBA is able to return to finish this campaign.

Although the NBA is dealing with an atypical situation there are questions that will need to be resolved particularly if a return to action occurs.

The current calendar is based on the draft happening shortly after the NBA Finals finish and then the free agency moratorium kicking in a few weeks later.

Everything is up in the air at this point but the logical thinking would be this order remains in place.

There are many who would rather conduct free agency prior to the draft.

Practically, that makes more sense because teams would know who they have lost or added in free agency. Then GMs could infill specific rotational needs with that knowledge gained via free agency.

Next. NBA 2020 Mock Draft 1.0 – Options abound for Thunder. dark

Regardless, don’t expect any decisions until May 1st at a minimum.