ESPN's decision to bring in Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose (replacing Chris Broussard and Jon Barry, joining holdovers Michael Wilbon and Magic Johnson) for their NBA pregame show is certainly a bold move. ESPN went bold last year with the move to Los Angeles for their NBA pregame show and "hostless" experiment, which was ultimately a failure as ESPN has brought wide-ranging changes after just one year. Simmons in particular is an unconventional addition; he obviously has a huge fanbase from his ESPN columns and best-selling Book of Basketball, running Grantland, and from his recent work with the Worldwide Leader's 30 for 30 documentaries.
However, he's not a former player or coach, and that makes for an extremely rare and refreshing change from your typical analyst. Meanwhile, Rose has plenty of playing credentials from his time at Michigan and his 14-season NBA career, but throughout his ESPN work, he's consistently demonstrated a willingness to be much more outspoken than your typical player-turned-commentator, and has even shown he's not afraid to take on (and destroy) favoured types like Skip Bayless. Will adding these guys make for a good show? A lot depends on how they approach it.no comments