Nearly 10 months after it began last October, the 2019-20 NBA regular season will come to a close later this week with the conclusion of the seeding games on Friday night. There will still be the matter of a play-in tournament to attend to in the Western Conference, but once that is settled, the playoff field will be set, and we'll know the 14 lottery teams.
Once everything is set, the league will be wasting no time in moving toward next season, with the 2020 Draft Lottery set to take place in just 10 days on Aug. 20. As most things are these days, the event will be held virtually, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
While it's still not clear when or how the 2020-21 season is going to begin, the league is still hopeful of getting going on Dec. 1, which means it has limited time to get through all the normal offseason work. The first step in that process is the draft lottery, which will let teams know where they're drafting, and allow them to really start drilling down on their scouting and preparation. As of now, the 2020 NBA Draft is set for Oct. 16, which is just a few days after the last possible date for Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
So far there are 11 teams we know will be in the lottery. The eight that were not invited to Orlando -- the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls and Charlotte Hornets -- and the three teams that have been eliminated in the bubble so far: the Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans. They'll eventually be joined by three more Western Conference squads, though it's likely going to take until the final day to know who those teams are.
This is not expected to be a particularly strong draft class, and the fact that all preparation will have to be done virtually only adds to the intrigue. No one knows who is going to go No. 1, especially without a set draft order, but one potential option is Lonzo Ball's younger brother, LaMelo Ball.