We’re still nearly three months away from NBA draft day, but before we get to June 22, there are several other important dates and deadlines on the calendar. Here are some of those dates and deadlines worth keeping an eye on:
April 23 (11:59 pm ET): Deadline for early entrants to declare for the draft
College players and international early entrants have until the end of the day on April 23 to submit their names into the 2023 NBA draft pool. They can withdraw their names later if they decide they’re not quite ready to go pro, though if college players want to maintain their NCAA eligibility, they can’t hire an agent who’s not certified by the NCAA.
Once the early entrant list is set, NBA teams can begin conducting or attending workouts for those players.
May 13-14: NBA G League Elite Camp
In 2019, the Elite Camp – having recently been revamped by the NBA – consisted of 40 veteran G League invitees participating in the first half of the event, followed by 40 top draft-eligible players (who weren’t invited to the actual combine) taking part in the second half.
After being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Elite Camp returned in 2021, but only featured 40 draft-eligible prospects, without the G League players. That format carried over to 2022, with 44 prospects in attendance, and will presumably be in effect in 2023 as well.
May 15-21: NBA draft combine
This week-long event, which takes place annually in Chicago, allows NBA teams to get a first-hand look at many of the year’s top draft-eligible players.
The combine is often particularly important for early entrants who have yet to decide whether or not to stay in the draft. The feedback they get at the combine could go a long way toward dictating whether they keep their names in the draft or return to school for another year.
May 16: NBA draft lottery
The 2023 draft lottery will be the fifth one that uses the new format, which was introduced in 2019. With the lottery odds flattened out, the NBA’s worst team has a 14% shot at the No. 1 overall pick, as opposed to the 25% chance it had prior to ’19.
The new system has generated some excitement during the past four draft lotteries — seven of the 16 teams that have claimed top-four picks since 2019 entered the night without a top-six spot in the lottery standings.
Still, it has been a few years since we saw any real long shots become big winners on lottery night. The Pelicans and Grizzlies moved up from seventh and eighth in the lottery standings in 2019 to claim the top two picks, but one of the NBA’s worst three teams has been awarded the No. 1 spot in each of the last three lotteries. Could we be due for a few surprises in 2023?
May 31 (11:59 pm ET): NCAA early entrant withdrawal deadline
College underclassmen – and seniors who are eligible to play for more one season – who want to retain their NCAA eligibility will have to withdraw their names from the draft pool by May 31. NBA rules call for a later withdrawal deadline, but the NCAA has its own set of rules that say the deadline is 10 days after the combine ends.
An early entrant could technically wait until after May 31 to withdraw from the draft and could still retain his NBA draft eligibility for a future year. However, he would forfeit his amateur status in that scenario, making him ineligible to return to his NCAA squad. College players who want to play overseas for a year or two before entering the NBA draft could take this route.
June 12 (5:00 pm ET): NBA early entrant withdrawal deadline
This is the NBA’s final deadline for early entrants to withdraw their names from the draft pool and retain their draft eligibility for a future year.
By this point, we generally know whether or not a college player decided to keep his name in the draft, but this is an important deadline for international players, who aren’t subject to the same restrictions as college players. We’ll likely hear about several international early entrants withdrawing from the draft during the days leading up to June 12.
June 22: NBA draft day
The most exciting few weeks of the NBA offseason unofficially get underway on draft day, which is often when several of the first major trades of the summer are completed and when we get a sense of which direction certain teams are heading.
It’s also worth noting that the hours and days after the draft ends will be hugely important for many of this year’s draft-eligible prospects — a ton of players who aren’t selected with one of the 58 picks in the draft will reach agreements shortly thereafter to play for an NBA team’s Summer League squad, to attend training camp with a club, or to sign a two-way contract.
Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff WriterJun 7, 2023, 05:30 PM ETCloseJoined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009Covers the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas MavericksAppears regular
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