According to The Big Lead, ESPN media personality extraordinaire Bill Simmons is being "strongly considered" as an addition to their NBA pregame show, NBA Countdown. ESPN has been searching for the "right formula" for years, in trying to compete with TNT's bigger, better, funnier, and more popular show, Inside the NBA.
The show was moved to Los Angeles last year basically for Magic Johnson, and if you didn't know, Simmons also happens to live in LA. Simmons is one of ESPN's biggest names. He's the author of the best-selling Book of Basketball, concocted and headed the extremely popular ESPN TV series 30 for 30, and is the founder and lead honcho for the very popular ESPN long-form website Grantland. However, from the times that he's actually been on television in the past, some viewers still don't know who he is; and many others get annoyed by him.
I think the biggest question is, how would the opinionated and outspoken Simmons mesh with the rest of the established cast of NBA Countdown? You've got Mike Wilbon, Jon Barry, Magic Johnson and Chris Broussard. And would those guys be "onboard" with this kind of move and addition to the show? The chemistry of ESPN's hostless pregame show was always in question and a potential Simmons addition would add another big unknown. TBL reports Simmons may replace Chris Broussard, who as a news reporter, has always been out of place as a studio analyst. Simmons replacing Broussard would certainly make ESPN's NBA show more interesting, but will it make it better?
Over time ESPN probably wants Simmons to not only be one of the brains for the operations (30 for 30, Grantland, etc), but one of the faces as well. Sending The Sports Guy to ESPN's NBA pregame show would clearly be a further step in that direction.
[H/T The Big Lead]