Jun 27, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; A general view as NBA commissioner David Stern (right) , deputy commissioner Adam Silver (left) and former NBA player Hakeem Olajuwon speak on stage after the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NBA Draft: Five Rules for Watching the Draft

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Millions of NBA fans throughout the country will tune in Thursday night to watch the NBA Draft. It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for, after months of reading mock drafts and trying to predict where each prospect will fall.  We all know what we want to happen with the draft, but do we really know how to watch the draft?

Probably not, so I made a list of my top five rules for watching the NBA draft. If you follow these simple steps, you’ll, no doubt, have a good draft experience. Unless you’re a Cleveland Cavs fan…

Five Rules for watching the NBA Draft:

1. Sober up before the draft

Regardless of what happens to the USA soccer team tomorrow against Germany, NBA fans must sober up before the draft.  Obviously, the game can go one of two ways: Either the USA advances to the round of 16 or they’re coming home. American sports fans are going to be celebrating or drinking their sorrows away. It’s going to be one or the other. Whatever you do after the futbol game, make sure you’ve sobered up before the draft. No one wants to read your drunk tweets about how Andrew Wiggins is going to be the next Michael Jordan.

2. Be ready for anything

As you know, Cleveland miraculously ended up with the number one pick in the best draft in over a decade. No one knows what Cleveland is going to do, especially with the concern about Joel Embiid’s back, foot, bone structure, blood type, yadda, yadda, yadda. Cleveland could do anything with that pick and nothing is off the table at this point. And, nothing is off the table because there’s a 99 percent chance no one in the Cleveland organization knows what they’re going to do.

Personally, I think the top pick in the draft should be Embiid. I see how the Cavs might be weary or scared because of all the injuries to big men that sideline their entire careers, like Yao Ming or Greg Oden. Embiid’s still has the best potential of anyone in the draft. Regardless of what I think, I’m just trying to tell you not to be surprised when Cleveland drafts Aaron Gordon or  Doug McDermott first overall. You don’t want to be caught like Bill Simmons was during the draft last year.

We saw two major trades with major ramifications on the Western Conference happen yesterday. The NBA draft might as well be the Fourth of July with all the fireworks that are about to happen. Prepare for anything.

3. Don’t overhype the pick

This is a great draft. There’s a possibility of ten good-to-great players in the whole draft. Your favorite team is going to get a good player in the draft, but you need to take a deep breath. Rookies rarely lead teams to the playoffs, let alone the NBA Finals. If history is any indication, your team isn’t winning the title next season because Noah Vonleh is now on the team. Another example, LeBron has been the best player in the world for the last five or six seasons at least, and he’s gone 2-for-5 in NBA Finals. That’s just how the cookie crumbles sometimes, but more like all the time. No one wins the title every year in the league, except Bill Russell, who only played two seasons where he didn’t win the ‘ship. But he was the best center of all-time, so… unless you have the best center of all-time on your team, you aren’t winning the title every season.

Take a deep breath, relax, then just get excited to watch the player grow over the next five to ten years, and pray your team doesn’t have a general manager like David Kahn to ruin everything.

4. Don’t not hype the pick

Now, rules three and four may seem like a direct contradiction, and that’s probably true. Hear me out, though; you have to be somewhat excited about the pick. He could be the future star of your franchise! You have to find that middle ground where you’re eagerly optimistic but not obsessed. That was Cleveland’s biggest problem with LeBron. They became obsessed with him, loved him unconditionally, and treated him like a king (pun intended). You can’t become obsessed with players, people! They’re probably going to leave at some point, especially if you’re a fan of a small market team.

Find the middle ground between love and hate and, then, ride with it.

5. Do Your Homework

It’s possible, and likely, some international players will go toward the top of this draft. Get on Youtube and watch some videos of him before you get on twitter. Actually, just do that for all the players in the draft, regardless of where they were born. No one likes the guy talking smack when he/she hasn’t even seen him play basketball before. But, you can’t just watch the highlights. Every decent high school player in the country has an awesome highlight video. Watch a full game if you can find one and judge accordingly.

By “accordingly,” I mean take it with a grain of salt. You never know what kind of competition they’re playing against. Dante Exum, for example, is playing against high school competition in most of his videos. How many high schoolers play in the NBA? Exactly… Still, you can make inferences on potential, athleticism, and shooting. If a guy can shoot, he can shoot at any level. It’s one of the only attributes that translates to every level of basketball. Find out what a guy can do before you judge!

If you follow these rules, the NBA draft will be a pleasant experience. If not, well, you have been warned.

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