Uncertainty ahead of COVID-affected NBA Draft

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – The 2020 NBA Draft takes place today with questions swirling around the likely identity of the number one pick as teams attempt to gauge talent after a college season decimated by COVID-19.

Barely four weeks after LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers clinched the NBA Finals after a marathon, virus-truncated season, today’s virtual draft is being held just five weeks before the 2020-2021 campaign tips off.

The Minnesota Timberwolves will have the coveted first pick, ahead of the second-placed Golden State Warriors and the Charlotte Hornets.

The Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers take the fourth and fifth slots.

Yet unlike 2019, when the New Orleans Pelicans snapped up the generational talent of Zion Williamson with the top pick, there is deep uncertainty over which player is likely to be chosen first.

The leading contenders appear to be Georgia’s Anthony Edwards, who averaged 19 points per game as a freshman, the seven-foot-one Memphis centre James Wiseman and LaMelo Ball, the youngest of three basketball-playing brothers who already have their own reality TV show.

Ball’s oldest brother Lonzo, the second pick in the 2017 draft, already plays in the NBA with New Orleans while middle brother LiAngelo is in the NBA’s G-League.

LaMelo has been tipped as a possible the first pick but erratic shooting ability may weigh against the six-foot-seven, 19-year-old from California.