ESPN will televise the 2020 NBA Draft on Thursday from Connecticut.
Recent NBL Next Star LaMelo Ball is widely tipped to be the #1 pick while James Wiseman and Anthony Edwards are all highly touted to be chosen first by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum will appear at the ESPN studios to announce the selections, while up to 60 draftees will appear virtually. This marks the first NBA Draft at ESPN’s studios and its 18th consecutive NBA Draft telecast overall.
Rece Davis will return to host ESPN’s coverage with an expert panel of commentators, including analysts Jay Bilas and Jay Williams, and NBA Draft analyst Mike Schmitz in studio on the main set.
Additionally, ESPN NBA reporter Malika Andrews will serve as the NBA Draft telecast reporter for the first time. The team will conduct virtual interviews with several top draftees.
LaMelo Ball remains the most polarizing figure in the 2020 NBA Draft. Some draft experts have the ex-Illawarra Hawk going to the Timberwolves with the number one pick, while others have him falling outside the top five entirely.
Ball’s career trajectory has divided the scouts, with LaMelo choosing to skip the usual College route and instead play professional basketball in Lithuania and Australia, in the National Basketball League.
James Wiseman could surprise and move ahead of Ball in the draft order. Given his size at seven foot and his athletic ability, Wiseman would have been a lock to go first in previous drafts.
However, with the NBA style evolving, questions remain about the value of such a player. Like LaMelo, Wiseman has had his issues, with the NCAA ruling him ineligible to play College basketball.
Anthony Edwards is all over the board in the draft experts predictions. The six foot five guard has placed anywhere in the top four, and fills the needs of a number of NBA franchises in the top ten.
No one doubts the ability of Ball and Wiseman, but given their unconventional path to the 2020 Draft, some scouts see the pair as a gamble, and the solid, safe bet in Edwards, could just jump them both.
RJ Hampton is another name familiar to Australian and New Zealand basketball fans, courtesy of his time with the New Zealand Breakers in the National Basketball League.
Like LaMelo, Hampton was part of the NBL Next Star program, and it was his time in the NBL that saw him listed as a top-ten draft pick.
Injuries have impacted Hampton in recent times, and some mock drafts have him outside the top-15, but Hampton is another who could prove real value for NBA teams.
Australian Josh Green is one name to watch out for, and he has been projected to be selected anywhere from pick 15 to pick 20. The Miami Heat loom as a potential destination for Green, meaning another local star could soon be NBA bound.
This year ESPN’s NBA Draft coverage will prioritize news and information as well as storytelling. ESPN commentary and vignettes will focus largely on the individual stories of top players.
In addition, ESPN will document Draft headquarters activity for up to eight NBA teams. ESPN will also debut a new graphics and animation package for its 2020 NBA Draft telecast.
ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski will provide reports and news updates throughout the night from ESPN’s studios. ESPN NBA Draft analyst Bobby Marks will also appear in studio and provide front office insights and commentary.
ESPN host and journalist Rachel Nichols will conduct several virtual one-on-one interviews with potential top NBA Draft selections, including LaMelo Ball, that will air across ESPN platforms leading up to the NBA Draft.
Thursday November 19
11.30am AEDT, 2020 NBA Draft Preview, ESPN
12.00pm AEDT, 2020 NBA Draft, ESPN
9.00pm AEDT, 2020 NBA Draft, ESPN (Replay)