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The WNBA draft will probably be a digital match this yr.
The league introduced Thursday that its draft will nonetheless be held April 17 as firstly scheduled, however with out avid gamers, enthusiasts or media in attendance because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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“The WNBA draft is a time to have fun the outstanding athletes whose arduous paintings and desires are learned with their alternatives within the draft,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert stated. “Safeguarding the well being and well-being of our potentialities, avid gamers, staff, and everybody attached to our recreation in addition to most people is paramount.”
Logistics of the draft are nonetheless being labored out with ESPN even supposing Engelbert showed she would announce the choices that night time at the league’s broadcast spouse’s community. She simply is not positive the place she’ll be doing it from; it might be her space, the league workplaces or every other location.
The New York Liberty have the No. 1 select and are anticipated to draft Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu, who gained the AP ladies’s faculty basketball participant of the yr previous this week.
“The whole lot remains to be the similar because it used to be ahead of so far as the joy is going of getting the No. 1 select,” Liberty basic supervisor Jonathan Kolb stated in a telephone interview. “We’re nonetheless looking ahead to directives from the league so far as struggle room and such things as that and the way the draft will paintings.”
The commissioner, who’s starting her first complete season this yr after beginning the task halfway thru final yr, stated that the league will honor Alyssa Altobelli, Gianna Bryant and Payton Chester on the draft. The teens have been a number of the 9 individuals who died within the helicopter twist of fate on Jan. 26, together with Kobe Bryant. Engelbert stated the league additionally plans to honor the previous NBA big name on the draft and throughout the impending season.
The digital draft is the one walk in the park Engelbert has concerning the upcoming season this is scheduled to start on Might 15.
She stated the league has mentioned a number of situations which are contingent at the pandemic. Two WNBA towns are primary scorching spots for the virus: New York and Seattle. The Las Vegas on line casino the place the Aces play is close down as is the Connecticut Solar’s house enviornment.
“There are a myriad of logistics concerned from the beginning of coaching camp to the top of season,” stated Engelbert, who handled the monetary meltdown within the overdue 2000s when she used to be with Deloitte, an accounting group that works with Fortune 500 firms. “At all times the primary guideline is the well being of the avid gamers, enthusiasts and staff. We aren’t taking any situation of the season off the desk, together with the top of the season on Might 15.”
Whilst it sort of feels not going presently the league will get started on Might 15 on account of the virus, Engelbert did say that the WNBA may just start its season ahead of the NBA or different sports activities leagues resume.
“A league of our measurement and scale is smaller than different large leagues,” she stated. “We could possibly tip this season off ahead of every other leagues since we handiest have 12 groups and 144 avid gamers.”
The postponement of the 2020 Olympics additionally provides the WNBA some flexibility with its time table, if the season does not get started on time. The league used to be going to move on month-long hiatus beginning July 10 to permit avid gamers to take part within the Tokyo Video games.
“We have been already situation making plans round what our season would seem like if we performed video games throughout our month hiatus,” she stated. “We have now a bonus right here to make use of that point. We are already taking a look at enviornment availability and the best way to get announces of our recreation in that duration.”
Engelbert could also be exploring a number of alternative chances.
“Each day brings new data, we are not locking in, taking anything else off the desk,” the commissioner stated. “It is untimely to try this. We are following the path of public officers, state, native.”