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.
ESPN.com 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.