Without the playoffs, just what the heck are we supposed to do with ourselves? So far everyone seems (reasonably) focused on the draft and who the Mavericks might take with the (likely) 9th overall pick. But there's over two months until Dallas is on the clock and plenty will occur in the meantime. Here's a look at some upcoming big dates and events that matter.
April 23rd - NBA Early Entry Eligibility Deadline
The short explanation is that players who are not automatically eligible for the draft must declare themselves interested. Automatically eligible players include anyone who is 22 or older, players who have been out of high school four years or more, or players who signed a professional basketball contract any where in the world. International players have slightly different rules, but the intent is the same.
This deadline is pretty straight forward. Anyone interested in the draft must be declared by this date.
May 9th to 14th - NBA Draft Combine
This multi-day event is the unofficial kickoff of draft coverage. Official measurements in height and weight are taken, along with hand size, wingspan, vertical leap, body fat and standing reach. Players also undergo interviews and medical testing. There's the option for players to participate in some five-on-five and shooting drills, but over the last several years most potential top draftees have opted out of all but the minimum required by the NBA.
This is the first event where players really start to move around draft boards. A guy listed all year at 6’11” turns out to be 6’9”. The wingspan of an undersized guard is actually that of a much taller player. A center prospect weighs far more than the college had him listed. The measurements and test scores have a large impact on perception and can result in large changes to draft boards.
May 16th - NBA Lottery
It’s the day we’re really all waiting for. The Mavericks have an absurdly low chance of hopping up to a top three pick. But we’ll all watch anyway.
The real question for the Mavericks is what person will represent the team? Dirk Nowitzki? Donnie Nelson? Michael Finley?
June 12th - Early Entrant Withdrawal Deadline
This is the last date for early draft entrant players to remove themselves from to possible pool of players. The NCAA and NBA have worked well together over the last several years to extend this deadline to a date where players can get a reasonable assessment of their possible draft position. This has resulted in fewer players ending up in the “No Man’s Land” of not getting drafted and being unable to return to school.
June 22nd - NBA Draft
The next day we’re all waiting for. Who will the Mavericks pick? Who do you want them to pick? Do we want them to make a trade? I’m getting anxious just thinking about it.