Paul George Credit: Podcast P from Wave Sports and Entertainment

As the NBA Finals head to Dallas, ESPN is bringing on a nine-time All-Star to NBA Countdown and its halftime show.

Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George will join Malika Andrews, Stephen A. Smith, Michael Wilbon, and Bob Myers for Games 3 and 4 this week.

George will replace New York Knicks forward Josh Hart at the desk with the Boston Celtics up 2-0 over the Dallas Mavericks.

The move follows heavy criticism for ESPN’s studio coverage of the Finals so far, both resulting from their typical abbreviated halftime show as well as a gaffe by Michael Wilbon and the inexperience of Hart.

Wilbon named Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. his key player for Game 2 despite Hardaway playing just eight minutes in the previous four playoff games. Hardaway did not see the court in Game 2.

Elsewhere, ESPN was knocked for bringing Hart on for the Finals despite no broadcasting experience and limited postseason experience in the NBA.

“Josh Hart seems like a great guy, but if you add a player to your Finals’ coverage it should make it feel bigger,” wrote sports media reporter Andrew Marchand of The Athletic on X during Game 2.

ESPN used Chris Paul as its player analyst during the Eastern Conference Finals.

Now, George enters the fray with the Finals in the balance. George and the Clippers faced Dallas in the first round, the third playoff clash between the two West teams in five years. The veteran wing player, who has hosted a podcast for Wave Sports and Entertainment for over a year, should provide useful insight into what it’s like competing against Luka Doncic and Co.

ESPN continues to search for answers on its NBA broadcasts, this year looking to active players to bring analysis and name recognition to the studio.

George is the latest to try his hand at the impossible task of fitting smart takes into tiny windows between relentless commercial breaks, strange takes, and bickering between the likes of Myers and Smith.


About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.