I’ll get to TNT sometime this week, but wanted to touch on ESPN first because there’s a TON of randomness going on over at the “Leader” in regards to the NBA. I do these different every year (well last year since I’ve only done one), so I’m going to touch on the Studio Show, The Booth Pairings, and lastly the reporters. You can basically stop after the Announcing Teams because the reporters are the same boring ones as last year sans one new addition.
Let’s get into it shall we?
The Studio Team:
The rumors are true folks! The studio team is actually Stuart Scott, Stephen A. Smith, and Bill Walton. Just kill me now. This is like the perfect storm of awfulness, and while they’ll make your ears bleed….they’ll be perfect for this website. I can picture them all just going off the deep end by Mid-December. Walton will be in the corner hitting bongos and repeating “Throw it down Big Man…THROW IT DOWN!”. Stu Scott will be reciting Slam Poetry on the other side of the room. And Stephen A. Smith will be the only one at the desk yelling into the camera about how Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony are just NOT GETTING ALONG!
How can one network make so many ridiculous decisions? It blows my mind. They are going to get hammered for this move.
The Announcing Teams:
Your lead trio is the same as last year’s playoff team and that’s Mike Breen, Mark Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy. Mark Jackson should really only be an in-studio reporter, but again….if you’re an ex-player you have a seat courtside. I was cold on Breen at first, but I’ve warmed up to him, and Jeff Van Gundy was a welcome change of pace for the playoffs last year.
The majority of their games will be on ABC’s Sunday coverage, but they’ll kick off the season Halloween night as the Mavs travel to Cleveland.
Your #2 squad is going to be Mike Tirico and Hubie Brown for the majority of the season, but Dan Shulman will fill-in for Tirico when his schedule has him somewhere for Monday Night Football.
I’m not sure when Hubie Brown’s shelf-life expires, but I can’t stand him. Never really could actually. As you know there are some people who I give a pass on the site because of their age (Madden, Keith Jackson, etc.), but there’s a difference with Hubie. He was never good. Ever. I’m sorry, but he’s just one of those Announcer that just grate on my nerves (see: Brent Musburger).
The other remaining teams will feature Mark Jones and Dave Pasch as leads and Walton and Jon Barry as analysts. I have no idea what happened to Tom Tolbert, but I will miss him greatly. Hopefully you end up in the ESPN NBA Announcer graveyard (NBA TV) with Snapper Jones. Keep getting rid of the only good broadcasters you have ESPN.
Sideliners for the year will be Ric Bucher, Doris Burke, Lisa Salters and Michele Tafoya.
The Rest of the Cast:
This is the part you can skip because the contributors to Fastbreak are the same as last year. They’ve hired Jalen Rose and Rick Carlisle full-time, and the rest of the studio analysts will include Greg Anthony, Tim Legler, Jamal Mashburn and Kiki Vandeweghe, Ric Bucher, and ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. Jon Saunders will host NBA Matchup and feature many of the previously listed analysts.
The new person I was referring to is Jackie MacMullan. The Globe Reporter will contribute in some capacity, but I’m not exactly sure how or why.
2006-2007 ESPN Announcing Preview (Awful Announcing)