NBA Draft expanding to 2 nights this year: Why the change was needed

The NBA Draft will expand from one to two nights, the league announced Wednesday. The first round will be held on June 26, and the second round will take place on June 27.

The Athletic reported in November that the NBA had discussed the possibility of expanding the draft during a meeting with general managers, as team executives believed they could use more time to make selections in both the first and second rounds.

ESPN will continue to air the draft. The league said Wednesday that the first round, at Barclays Center in New York, will continue to feature five minutes between selections, while the second round, from ESPN’s Seaport District Studios, will see four minutes between picks (up from two minutes in previous years).

“Based on feedback about the NBA Draft format from basketball executives around the league and my own experience in draft rooms, we believe that teams will benefit from being able to regroup between rounds and having additional time to make decisions during the second round,” Joe Dumars, the league’s executive vice president and head of basketball operations, said in a statement. “Two nights of primetime coverage will also enhance the viewing experience for our fans and further showcase the draftees.”

Why it’s needed

The NBA Draft has five minutes between picks in the first round and just two minutes in the second, all so it can try to cram 60 picks in between 8 p.m. and midnight (ET) in one evening. In particular, the second round becomes an afterthought: NBA Finals MVP Nikola Jokić was famously drafted during a Taco Bell commercial.

This isn’t just a marketing issue; it’s also a time issue for the teams involved. During the second round, it can be difficult to complete trades involving picks in the allotted time frame of just two minutes. This has been true in recent drafts where the same pick has changed hands multiple times in rapid succession; teams trying to trade up sometimes have to track down who owns a pick before they can propose a deal to acquire it. — John Hollinger, senior NBA writer

Required reading

(Photo: Sarah Stier / Getty Images)

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