Typically around this time of year, the Philadelphia 76ers are gearing up for the NBA Draft. As the event takes place in June just before free agency, teams are usually spending the month of May working on scouting prospects and creating big boards.
This year is much different, though. Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck the league, the NBA had no choice but to enter a hiatus. That was back on March 11th. Now here we are in late May, still wondering if a continuation of the 2019-2020 NBA season is possible. The latest wave of rumors indicate a return is nearing, but if that's the case, then the NBA is going to have to push back the draft and free agency.
At this point, the choice to do so is inevitable. With the NBA expected to return in July/August, rumors indicate that the NBA Draft and free agency period will likely take place in September, according to a report from The Inquirer's Keith Pompey.
"Several league sources said the 2020 draft is expected to be pushed back from June 25 to September. Two of the sources also said the board of governors would also discuss whether the upcoming free-agency period should be moved ahead of the draft. Free agency for the 2020-21 season will be moved from the scheduled start of 6 p.m. June 30."
Pushing the draft back was going to happen regardless of whether the season returned or not. Since the NBA Draft Lottery and the Combine have been postponed without a set date scheduled, teams are going to have to wait to get an entirely accurate scouting report on their prospects entering the league.
And as for the potential switch of moving the free agency period ahead of the draft, a change as such makes tons of sense. Being able to acquire veterans through the market could dramatically change a team's draft strategy, and organizations can draft better based off of need. The NBAPA and the NBA would have to agree on the change, but it sounds like that scenario could be proposed, and utilized for this year.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_