If there's one thing that I've learned over the course of my experiences watching the NBA Draft is that I love it.
The hype, the speculation, the first "whaaaaaaat?!?!" pick, the trades, the wingspans, the suits, the handshakes, the prospect not invited to the green room but attending in the crowd and coming down for a handshake and a photo when his name is called. Everything. I love it.
There's a problem with this process though, and for some they can come away from the experience scathed and unhappy with what they just watched. It's a delightful process for most, but it takes the right approach to truly get the most out of.
This draft becomes difficult for a lot of different fans. If your team was lottery bound the entire season (Philadelphia stand up!) or had multiple picks/assets (!) for the upcoming draft, you've been looking forward to this day since the last draft was over.
If your team had playoff expectations but wound up failing those miserably (I see you Kyrie!) then this could be your lone bright spot from that entire nightmare of a season. Unless you're a Pistons, Pelicans, or Knicks fan of course. The point is, there's a reason some people get their hopes up too high because their entire year of following their team leads to this moment. There are certain things you have to watch out for.
For one, remember that this is just the selection of the players. You won't see these guys rock your lovely team's apparel or revitalized franchise (BACK THE BUZZ) until the preseason unless you like the practice jerseys they use in the summer league where Andrew Wiggins will face off against Andy Rautins or Tyler Honeycutt.
The approach here is that the draft is the start of the real excitement. This extends further to the point that for as much Australian league footage you saw of Dante Exum or all that intense Sun Belt Conference action you saw of Elfrid Payton, none of us will really know how these guys pan out until we see their careers progress. I tried putting my head through a wall while sobbing uncontrollably when the Suns took Alex Len, but I wasn't going to find out if that was going to be a justifiable action of mine till he played that season. Wait. When did he play again? The point is, you might be waiting a while for this. A lot of fans of the corresponding teams had the same reactions for the selections of Rafael Araujo and Dirk Nowitzki. We just don't know.
The other killer of our adrenaline is the months of buzz on trades that are rumored, speculated, and flat out make sense until they don't even happen. Even a team like the Suns that are the most obvious team to make a move on draft day might not even make one at all. Making a trade sure is fun, but making the right trade is the best, and your team leaving draft night without making a move means the right trade probably wasn't available. The glorious thing about this negative though is that when you're least expecting a deal, something like the Brooklyn/Boston trade happens. It's high drama.
Perhaps the biggest activation of the nerves and the need to protect one's self on draft night is all the previous harm done. The fact that Nick Wiggins is in the draft has me petrified as a Suns fan, with their history of Taylor Griffin, Robin Lopez and Markieff Morris. That's perhaps a bit unrealistic of me, but you bet your ass I'm still scared regardless.
The flip side of this is that it is absolute hysteria and pandemonium when one of these bizarre draft reaches occurs. I still remember dancing around my living room when the Bobcats took Cody Zeller last year. The inevitable 5-10 spots too high selection of Rodney Hood, Tyler Ennis, or James Young will have me the same way this year. Once again, the goal is to laugh and enjoy.
The point I'm trying to emphasize here is to enjoy the draft for what it is. Whether it's the classic shot of the guy who was supposed to go first overall but didn't, taking a shot every time we toss it to Fran Fraschilla, counting the pixels on that international prospect's footage, criticizing the hat placement and handshake approach, or watching Adam Silver's inevitable first mispronunciation in the first round, it's going to be a great night.
At the end of the day, have some fun watching the draft and remember, believe in McDonough.