Not only does the coronavirus pandemic affect the Milwaukee Bucks’ ability to contend for an NBA title this season, but their draft plans and pre-draft process have already changed significantly.
As the NBA explores all possible avenues, and clings to the hope of being able to restart their 2019-20 season amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Milwaukee Bucks would be one of the teams to be most affected, one way or the other.
But this current situation doesn’t just affect the Bucks in the short-term as their ability to run through what would have been a normal pre-draft process will be anything but over the coming weeks and months.
The outbreak has already heavily impacted the college basketball world enough to end their season as conference and NCAA Tournaments were all shuttered last week as the sports world did their part to limit any exposure in light of COVID-19 hitting North American shores.
Not only that, but various scouting events that have been staples throughout the pre-draft process such as the Nike Hoop Summit and the Portsmouth Invitational, have already been cancelled and it’s only a matter of time until future combines and events face the same fate.
Indeed, we’re already in the midst of a different kind of March Madness and that will affect all 30 NBA teams, including the Bucks, and team scouts have certainly seen the last of the 2020 draft class in action as The Athletic’s John Hollinger and Sam Vecenie recently surmised.
With the 2019-20 NBA season essentially locked in at the moment, the first round draft pick the Bucks acquired from the Indiana Pacers via the Malcolm Brogdon sign-and-trade deal last summer is slotted for either the 19th or 20th overall selection as Indiana is tied with the Philadelphia 76ers with a 39-26 record. Almost certainly that would be decided via a random drawing to break up the tiebreaker as we’ve seen the league do before when the Bucks were involved in such situations in recent years.
That’s not an insignificant selection, by any means, and an avenue for the Bucks to add a long-term, cost controlled piece, especially when their chips sit in the middle of the table to maximize this championship-contending window and convince Giannis Antetokounmpo to stay in Milwaukee long-term.
Yet, the access and the ability to gain more knowledge about prospects through the Draft Combine as well as individual and group workouts look to be, at the very least, in jeopardy of being held as normal as in years past, only adding to the growing unpredictability that is defining this 2020 NBA Draft.
We here at BTBP will start to dig in shortly to cover the draft and the prospects that could be of interest to the Bucks and available when they’re on the clock whenever the draft is held. But like everything that’s been affected by this outbreak, this is promising to be a draft process that will be unlike anything else we’ve seen before.