In Yet Another Retool, ESPN Adds Rose, Simmons to NBA Studio Show


Ten years after Kevin Frazier and Tim Hardaway anchored the inaugural edition of “NBA Shootaround” on ESPN, the network has made yet another change to its NBA studio team. blogger Bill Simmons and ESPN NBA analyst Jalen Rose have been added to the cast of “NBA Countdown” on ESPN and ABC for the 2012-13 season, ESPN announced Thursday.

Simmons and Rose will replace Chris Broussard and Jon Barry, respectively, on the studio show. Earvin Johnson and Michael Wilbon will continue in their current roles.

The addition of Simmons was initially reported by The Big Lead nearly two months ago.

The ESPN NBA studio show has been in a near-constant state of flux since the network began airing NBA coverage ten years ago. The latest moves are a clear — and some would say desperate — attempt to narrow the gap with Turner Sports’ “Inside the NBA” studio show.

While ESPN has turned to more than a dozen hosts and analysts for studio coverage over the past decade — a list including the likes of Scottie Pippen, Greg Anthony, Fred Hickman and Dan Patrick, just to name a few — the Emmy Award winning TNT studio team has been a paragon of consistency by comparison.

Even after the addition of Shaquille O’Neal, the TNT team of Ernie Johnson Jr., Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley remains the gold standard of NBA studio coverage.

(Thursday’s news from ESPN Media Zone; additional information from The Big Lead)

  • Andrea Cavalli

    Personally, I like Bill Simmons addition to the show. He may be obnoxious at times when the talk is about the Celtics and he may sound like one of those drunk fans you see in the comments sections but at the end of the day he knows the NBA very well and he truly loves it, he’s funny (at least to me) so I think it’s a good addition, certainly better than what would have been Stan Van Gundy’s hiring (I may be in the minority here, but I was not overly excited over the possibility to see him whining anytime he was on offense but thats just me. I can see why he appeals to the average fan, though, since fans generally like to whine themselves). Not sure about Rose’s addition, though.

    No matter what, I can’t see ESPN studio show doing better than TNT’s and NBATV’s Gametime (the latter is REALLY, REALLY underrated if you ask me). Maybe time will prove me wrong. We’ll see.

    • JakeFrankie

      ESPN Studio and in general NBA coverage is lackluster and annoying. Magic Johnson as great of a player he was, He’s too nice of a guy too be on these shows. You can tell he doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Chris Broussard was ok at times I actually liked him, But he can be annoying with his “My Sources” are telling me stuff. Jon Barry is terrible happy he’s gone. Bill Simmons is a big NBA fan, Simmons is ok I just hate when he’s talking Boston it’s like a 15 year old kid talking. Jalen Rose is ok himself.

      The great thing about the TNT one is it feels so real and very enjoyable. It’s funny, it gets serious sometimes, but at the end of the day. They know there b-ball not saying the ESPN guy’s don’t. But the TNT guys like Chuck and Shaq ain’t scared to go out on a limb and speak there mind.

      NBATV’s Gametime is ok, Deponds who’s on it. My favorite combo is Rick Kamla and Steve Smith is my favorite combo I think there the best combo.

      I always hope ABC losses the NBA Finals rights to one of the other networks (NBC,FOX or CBS) But I doubt it will happen sadly. The NBA needs to get away from ABC stuff, But I know ABC is paying a lot of dough for it. I personally hope the NBA makes changes and gets rid of the worthless commenators. How isn’t Hubie Brown NOT calling the Finals? Sorry Mike Breen stinks and JVG is played out. Come on ESPN keep the changes moving. BTW I like Chris Webber as a commenator on TNT coverage lol.

  • Ben

    Is Chris Broussard still with ESPN?

  • bignasty96

    Magic is the problem. If he’s there, it’s not going to work.

    I love Magic but, man, he is awful on TV.