The NBA’s hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic has added a layer of uncertainty surrounding the 2020 NBA Draft. Social distancing guidelines and the undetermined timeline for the league’s return to play has thrown off the entire pre-draft process—including the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament—and could possibly lead to a rescheduled draft. The draft is currently set for June 25th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, although it is very unlikely it continues as scheduled..
Despite the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, NBA veteran Isaiah Thomas can sympathize with potential draftees struggling to navigate the challenging situation.
It was on March 31st, 2011 that Thomas, despite one year of eligibility remaining, declared for the draft after a stellar career—capped by an iconic buzzer-beater—for the University of Washington. At 5’9, Thomas’s decision was risky, as he was projected to be a late-second round pick (at best), while the NBA lockout happening at the time put the summer league in flux.
Now, Thomas is offering advice to draft hopefuls. Recounting his NBA journey to The Undefeated, Thomas is telling players “to make the best life decision for yourself. Don’t just go off what you want to do right now. Figure out the positives and the negatives of the situation. Make sure you know the ins and outs of what’s going on, and what can possibly happen, and what can’t happen. And then you go from there and make a decision.”
On Monday, the NCAA announced it was extending eligibility for spring athletes for a year, which does not include hoops.
“My final decision was that I’m going to just bet on myself,” Thomas added. The Sacramento Kings ended up selecting Thomas with the final pick in the draft (#60). Isaiah would defy the odds and make two All-Star teams. He is currently a free agent.