Dec 14, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Caris LeVert (23) goes to the basket defended by Arizona Wildcats forward Aaron Gordon (11) in the first half at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Draft 2014: A Viewer's Or Follower's Guide

Guess what? NBA Draft 2014 is almost upon us, and I’m going to give you some tips to hopefully improve your experience in viewing or following it.

First, be aware of when the draft starts, which is 5:30 PM Mountain time.. You’ll get what I would consider to be the best viewing experience by attending the annual Utah Jazz Draft Party at EnergySolutions Arena. If you get there early enough, you’ll get a free hot dog, drink and draft guide. I’ve also heard that Bees vouchers and Jazz preseason tickets will be given out to some of the earliest-arriving fans as well.  The doors open at 4:30.

Second, if you’re not going to the party, you can watch the draft on ESPN from the comfort of your home. This is what I’ll be doing since I’ll be watching my kids and they probably wouldn’t be content at the draft party for very long. The beauty of this option is that with the Jazz having two first round picks, you can see who the Jazz pick at number 5 and then have plenty of time make dinner or get some snacks together before the Jazz pick again at number 23.

Third, if you get the chance, check out some mock drafts beforehand to get an idea of how things may go. A couple have gone up on here on Purple an Blues just today. You can view those here and here.

Fourth, speaking of getting an idea of how things may go, even if you don’t follow all of the mock drafts out there, you should take a minute to enter the Predict The Picks draft contest sponsored by the Jazz. In a nutshell, you predict, in order, the players that will be picked 1-14 and 23. Whoever gets the most correct wins a one-year lease on a Mercedes-Benz and (more importantly imo) a pair of lower bowl season Jazz tickets for the 2014-15 season. Seriously, it’ll be worth your time to throw out even an uneducated guess. Your entries must be in by 4:30 PM Mountain time tomorrow. Personally, I think the Jazz will end up with Aaron Gordon at number 5. I’m pretty undecided about the rest of the lottery and number 23 though.

Fifth, try to keep up on Twitter during the day. Trades may go down that could affect the Jazz either directly or indirectly.

Sixth, once the draft starts, if you’re watching on TV, you may want to consider staying off Twitter while you’re watching. To me, the best way to get the news of trades that happen during the draft is hearing the commissioner announce them at the podium. Note that this rule only applies during the first round of the draft. Due to the fact that players drafted in the second round don’t automatically get guaranteed contracts and won’t necessarily stick around, I usually stop watching the draft at this point and then turn back to Twitter for the rest of the night.

Seventh, take all draft-related rumors (including trades) with a giant grain of salt. Every team wants to put itself in the best position to benefit from the draft. Accordingly, they may leak “information” out to the media to mask their true intentions or affect other teams’ plans. A politician would likely be more trustworthy than most NBA sources right now.

Finally, have a lot fun! The Jazz may or may not end up with the player(s) you want, but whoever they get will still be a part of the Jazz for the foreseeable future.  So enjoy the speculation now, the draft as it happens, and the numerous discussions that will take place afterward.

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Tags: NBA Draft Utah Jazz

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