The NBA season is officially over, and Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers have brought the championship home to a city that had not won a major sports title in 52 years. The other 29 teams in the league are licking their wounds, and Thursday, June 23, offers a bright spot for every franchise, even those that didn’t just win the Larry O’Brien trophy. The NBA Draft is nearly upon us, and it is probably the most dramatic event of the off-season. Teams will gather to draft the latest group of rookies, and beyond seeing the league’s future stars take the stage, the draft is noteworthy for the amount of drama that always happens behind the scenes.
Teams are always wheeling and dealing on draft night, trading picks and players in attempts to improve, and this year is more entertaining than most. The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers have been amassing draft picks for years now, and the two teams are both trying to grab whatever potential stars they can, either through the draft or last minute trades. Expect to see a lot of rosters shaken up by the end of the draft. The 76ers, in particular, coming off one of the worst seasons in the history of the league, are in need young blood, while up-and-coming teams such as the Celtics and the Phoenix Suns may be looking for that one player who can push them over the top.
Picks one through three are currently owned by the 76ers, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Celtics, in that order. Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram are the consensus top two picks, but the rest of the draft is anyone’s guess. The complete draft order is available on the NBA’s website. The draft begins on Thursday, June 23, at 7 p.m. ET.
ESPN will be presenting the draft, so legal streaming options are limited.
If your cable provider includes ESPN, you can stream the draft on WatchESPN. In addition to the draft itself, ESPN’s coverage includes real-time commentary by basketball luminaries and analysts. WatchESPN also has apps for viewing the draft on on your mobile device.
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If you don’t have ESPN, you can certainly find alternative streams online, though they will be of varying quality and dubious legality. A good place for live coverage and discussions — and possible links to streams — is the NBA subreddit, one of the most active basketballs communities on the internet.