The playoffs aren't just a time for the teams to shine, what about the announcers! That's what we're here to talk about at least. With the NBA Playoffs now moving through the Conference Finals, we take a look at 5 personalities we'd like to see featured more prominently on ESPN and TNT's NBA coverage throughout the postseason and beyond...
1) Ian Eagle
Ian Eagle has cemented himself as one of the best play by play men in sports over the last couple years. From his work on the NFL on CBS to the NCAA Tournament to the NBA and even the Tennis Channel, Eagle has made the leap from underrated to top-rated. He calls a good game, is quick-witted, and has years of experience calling the NBA with the Nets. Turner has used him sparingly for its wide-ranging NBA Playoff coverage, but that should change beginning next year. Eagle's too good to be left on the sidelines and needs to be in the regular rotation of playoff announcers.
2) Dave Pasch
I've never thought of Dave Pasch as an NBA guy, what with his college football work and legendary college basketball pairing with Bill Walton. Nevertheless, Pasch got the opportunity to call some major NBA playoff games for ESPN this postseason and delivered. Like Eagle, he's a multi-talented play by play man who always brings a solid, energetic broadcast. Both networks are blessed with talented NBA play by play men (Albert, Harlan, Breen, Tirico) but it's time to put Eagle and Pasch in that same category.
3) Chris Webber
I've been a fan of Webber's work for quite some time and he showed again this postseason why TNT has a future star analyst in their midst. Whether it be in the studio or in the booth, Webber is engaging and personable as an analyst. He can break down X's and O's and fit seamlessly into the chemistry and laughs of Inside the NBA just as easily.
4) Bill Simmons
Perhaps it's a surprise to see this name round out our list, but has anyone grown more as a television personality in the last year than the Sports Guy? When Simmons first appeared on television he looked so nervous there was sweat pouring out of my television set. In his first year as a regular NBA studio analyst, he and Jalen Rose saved ESPN's fledging, rudderless NBA studio show. Granted, there's still work to be done (like finding a host), but ESPN would be wise to downsize and focus more on the man who actually wrote The Book of Basketball. Rose and Simmons have good chemistry from their litany of Grantland work and should be the centerpiece of a structured studio show moving forward, not the highlights of an amorphous blob.
5) Matt Winer
Which leads perfectly into our last selection. ESPN had a capable NBA studio host right there in Bristol and let him walk to Turner Sports in Matt Winer. Winer has blossomed at Turner as a studio host for TNT, NBA TV, and the NCAA Tournament, but one can't help but think he'll always be behind Ernie Johnson in the rotation. There's only one Inside the NBA after all and only room for one studio host there. Perhaps ESPN could acquire him back to host NBA Countdown for the rights to a baseball analyst to be named later.
Haa, bill simmons is a joke! he knows the game (and he makes that clear by blabbering and interupting partners every segment) but he is brutal! And anyone who read book? Can see countless errors in his logoic - says pistons were never lookin at wade (flat out lie and wrong! and said they didnt need mello cause sheed? Hmm Guess trading him for draft picks would be dumb? Never read a worse segment on defending Joe D pick - Bill is a joke, think we can all say - every single person on espn sucks - yet tnt/nba net.. pretty good
Jeff needs to go back to bias school.
He is prejudice and shows that he is for the Heat.
I mute my TV just not to hear his voice.
Simmons is, if anything, over exposed. He's got his column...his podcast and air time on NBA games. What do we need from him that we can't get already? If he were more a reporter, sort of a Jay Glazer for the NBA type, I'd see the value. But, I suppose I enjoy his sense of humor and sit through tying too many otherwise entertaining podcasts back to the Celtics, Red Sox and Patriots to see how he belongs alongside Webber ... who is really underrated, understated and able to explain the game without taking himself or the game too seriously.
Am I the only one that thinks the TNT NBA announcers suck? They are so biased it is disgusting! If you are an announcer for national tv you should keep your personal comments to yourself!
I think the NBA has the most engaging analysts of any of the major sports. NFL analysts are interchangeable and boring, same with MLB. College football has a few that stand out but the NBA is head and shoulders (no pun intended) above the pack
Bill Simmons still isn't very good on the NBA pregame show... More of him would NOT be a good thing.
Ian Eagle has also worked extensively with CBS/Turner for the NCAA Tournament. The dude is a total pro and deserves to be a top-flight announcer over the likes of Dick Stockton 8 days a week...
Definitely agreed on Ian Eagle. I have been praising him for a long time now and would really love to see him supplant Nantz at CBS for the top slot in their hierarchy. I must vehemently disagree with you on Dave Pasch, however. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something about him that I just cannot stand. Every time he's on, I dread the game ahead. The only ESPN play-by-play guy I dislike more is Carter Blackburn.
For what it's worth, Pasch is the #2 play-by-play man behind Kevin Calabro for the NBA on ESPN Radio this postseason, so they do think of him as one of their top broadcasters.
Oh I so disagree! All through the finals all of the ABC announcers have nothing good to say about the HEAT until they start winning then yes!