NEW YORK (AP) — The WNBA draft will be a virtual party this year.
The league declared Thursday that its draft will nonetheless be held April 17 as originally scheduled, but without gamers, followers or media in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The WNBA draft is a time to rejoice the fantastic athletes whose really hard work and desires are recognized with their selections in the draft,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert mentioned. “Safeguarding the health and well-becoming of our prospective buyers, gamers, employees, and everyone connected to our recreation as nicely as the normal community is paramount.”
Logistics of the draft are still staying labored out with ESPN despite the fact that Engelbert verified she would announce the picks that night time on the league’s broadcast partner’s community. She just isn’t guaranteed in which she’ll be doing it from it could be her dwelling, the league offices or another site.
The New York Liberty have the No. 1 select and are anticipated to draft Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu, who received the AP women’s higher education basketball participant of the year before this week.
“Everything is however the same as it was right before as far as the pleasure goes of possessing the No. 1 decide on,” Liberty standard manager Jonathan Kolb claimed in a mobile phone interview. “We’re however waiting around for directives from the league as significantly as war area and items like that and how the draft will do the job.”
The commissioner, who is beginning her initial entire season this yr following setting up the task midway through previous year, claimed that the league will honor Alyssa Altobelli, Gianna Bryant and Payton Chester at the draft. The teens have been between the nine people today who died in the helicopter incident on Jan. 26, together with Kobe Bryant. Engelbert reported the league also programs to honor the former NBA star at the draft and through the future time.
The digital draft is the only certainty Engelbert has about the impending season that is scheduled to get started on May 15.
She said the league has talked over a assortment of scenarios that are contingent on the pandemic. Two WNBA metropolitan areas are big incredibly hot places for the virus: New York and Seattle. The Las Vegas on line casino where the Aces participate in is shut down as is the Connecticut Sun’s dwelling arena.
“There are a myriad of logistics concerned from the commence of education camp to the tip of period,” stated Engelbert, who dealt with the monetary meltdown in the late 2000s when she was with Deloitte, an accounting organization that performs with Fortune 500 providers. “Always the principal guiding principle is the wellness of the gamers, enthusiasts and employees. We are not using any circumstance of the time off the desk, including the suggestion of the season on May perhaps 15.”
While it looks not likely at this time the league will start on May 15 simply because of the virus, Engelbert did say that the WNBA could start out its time prior to the NBA or other athletics leagues resume.
“A league of our sizing and scale is lesser than other massive leagues,” she explained. “We may well be able to suggestion this time off before some other leagues given that we only have 12 groups and 144 gamers.”
The postponement of the 2020 Olympics also gives the WNBA some versatility with its program, if the season does not get started on time. The league was going to go on month-long hiatus starting off July 10 to allow players to take part in the Tokyo Online games.
“We had been already scenario planning all over what our season would glance like if we played online games all through our month hiatus,” she stated. “We have an benefit listed here to use that time. We’re already searching at arena availability and how to get broadcasts of our activity in that period of time.”
Engelbert is also discovering a host of other opportunities.
“Every day delivers new facts, we’re not locking in, taking everything off the desk,” the commissioner claimed. “It’s untimely to do that. We’re subsequent the path of general public officials, state, neighborhood.”