As we continue to wait to see whether the NBA will continue the 2019-20 season, we will begin to take a closer look at the forthcoming draft. As it stands, the San Antonio Spurs will most likely have the 11th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, along with the 41st overall selection.
The draft lottery was previously scheduled for May 19th but was recently postponed. That wasn’t a surprise at all because the NBA will need to wait for the regular season to officially end before they use the draft lottery to determine which teams get the top picks in the draft.
The latest talk around the league has the NBA possibly returning to action in the middle of June. In that scenario, the NBA would hope to crown a champion by the middle of August. Once the regular season ends — most likely in early July — the NBA would hold the draft lottery, with the actual draft taking place around September 10th.
With everything pushed back, the 2020-21 season would then most likely start on Christmas Day. That said, everything is still up in the air. There is motivation to figure out a way to restart the season but no firm plans have been made about how the league will move forward.
How San Antonio’s Draft Odds Can Change
One glimpse at the standings and it’s even more clear that the Spurs should be rooting for the rest of the season to be cancelled. As previously stated, San Antonio is most likely to have the 11th selection in the draft. If the regular season resumes, it’s more likely their position in the draft will get worse than get better.
The Spurs, with a record of 27-36, are only 2.5 games behind a total of five teams: the Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings. If they pass any of those teams, San Antonio’s draft odds would worsen.
Considering that the Spurs would have 19 more games left if the NBA decides to play a full 82-game season, it’s not completely impossible that they catch the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth seed in the Western Conference. If that happens, San Antonio would fall out of the draft lottery completely.
On the other side of the coin, it’d be difficult for the Spurs to improve their draft odds, even if they go into full tank mode. Only one team (the 26-39 Phoenix Suns) is within 2.5 games of catching the Spurs in the standings, while only two more teams (the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets) are within five games.
Current Draft Odds for the Spurs
If the season is cancelled or if the season resumes and the Spurs stay in the same spot in the standings, there is a 77.6% chance they will end up with the 11th pick after the ping pong balls at the draft lottery finish finalizing the order.
The next most likely slot for San Antonio is the 12th selection. There’s a 12.6% chance they’ll move down a pick due to a team behind them moving into the top four.
The Spurs themselves have a 9.4% chance of moving into the top four, with a 2% chance of getting the first overall selection. The chances of the Spurs getting the second pick (2.2%), third pick (2.4%) or fourth pick (2.8%) are similar.
San Antonio could conceivably get bumped down to the 13th or 14th pick, however the odds of that happening are less than 0.5%.
Which Players Will be at the Top of the Draft?
According to the odds, five players have begun to separate themselves from the pack when it comes to prospects who might be selected No. 1 overall. Anthony Edwards is the online casino USA odds-on favorite to be the top pick. He’s a powerfully built shooting guard with natural scoring ability. The 18-year-old didn’t have a great freshman season at Georgia but his talent is undeniable and his ceiling as a scorer is high.
James Wiseman has the next highest odds of going No. 1. The 7-foot-1 center has great length and impressive athleticism and coordination. His freshman season at Memphis was cut short after he opted to leave the school following an eligibility battle.
The player with the third highest odds to be the top pick is LaMelo Ball. Lonzo’s brother is oozing talent. He’s a 6-foot-7 point guard with good court vision, quality playmaking ability and arguably more star potential than any player in the draft. However, his efficiency and maturity are question marks, which also makes him a risky pick.
The final two players who round out the top five are Obi Toppin and Deni Avdija. Toppin is an uber athletic power forward with range on his jumper. He was very productive as a sophomore at Dayton, averaging 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds. However, he’s 22 years old and is unlikely to have much more untapped potential.
Avdija is a multi-skilled 6-foot-9 prospect out of Israel. He might be able to play four positions on offense but his most natural position will most likely be small forward. His passing ability for his size is impressive, although he hasn’t yet proven to be a reliable outside shooter.
The Next Step in the Waiting Game
The NBA is expected to relax some of the workout restrictions they placed on players and teams on May 8th. But the loosening of the restrictions will only apply to select cities and there will still be a lot of rules that must be followed. On May 15th, players’ paychecks will take a 25% hit. That might motivate everyone associated with the NBA to finalize the plans of how to handle the rest of the campaign.
Either way, we’ll find out soon what will happen with the Spurs and the rest of the NBA. Time is running out, as even a return in the middle of June would likely need a plan in place by the middle of May.