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Report: ESPN’s Simmons, Stan Van Gundy to join ESPN studio show

Sep 11, 2012, 12:45 PM EDT

Orlando Magic v Atlanta Hawks - Game Four Getty Images

UPDATE 12:45 am: Sports By Brooks, which broke the story, has this update:

SbB has learned Chris Broussard & Jon Barry won’t returm to ESPN’s NBA studio. Added to show: @sportsguy33 & Stan Van Gundy

Which means the lineup would be Mike Wilbon and Magic Johnson as holdovers with ESPN’s Sports Guy Bill Simmons and Stan Van Gundy. That has potential (frankly, I would have dropped Magic, too, he’s not good in this role). It should be better than the old pregame/halftime studio show, but that’s not much of a bar to clear.

TNT is still the model to beat.

8:40 am: I don’t know if this is really true, but I hope that it is.

There have been rumors that ESPN has been looking to shake up its rather staid pregame/halftime NBA studio show. Now we get this tweet from Sports By Brooks:

SbB has learned @sportsguy33 & Stan Van Gundy will host retooled ESPN NBA studio show in LA this season

For the record, @sportsguy33 is the twitter handle of ESPN “Sports Guy” Bill Simmons. He is their most popular Internet writer, the guy behind Grantland and the suits at ESPN have looked for a way to use him more on television.

Word of caution, take this rumor with a grain of salt. Or, maybe a whole box of Kosher salt. It’s interesting and it’s out there — and certainly Sports By Brooks does have contacts — but we’re not sure how real this is yet.

If true, I don’t know how good that pairing would be, but it has potential. The current ESPN studio show — with Magic Johnson, Jon Barry, Chris Broussard and Mike Wilbon — is dull. It lacks chemistry.

The best studio show remains TNT’s Inside the NBA. Even with Shaquille O’Neal as an anchor on it. The combination of Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson is fantastic — they are both funny and can be insightful. Chris Webber fits in well as a fourth on that show.

It’s night and day when you compare ABC’s studio show to TNT’s. Simmons and Van Gundy (the recently released Magic coach and brother of ESPN color analyst Jeff Van Gundy) have potential though to be funny — both have great senses of humor — and to have good basketball talk as well.

I’d tune in and give it a chance at least.

  1. slippyal2 - Sep 11, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    I only like Wilbon and Magic from the previous groups. Magic because he’s an all time great who knows what a super star goes through. Jon Barry and Chris Broussard are out of their element as studio host. Bill Simmons has a passion and knowledge of the NBA that would serve them well. If Stan is anything like last season, he will be really honest.

  2. tannethrill - Sep 11, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    Simmons looks uncomfortable on TV. Van Gundy would be great. Too bad it couldn’t be Jeff VG too.

  3. trueballs - Sep 11, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    Please do this ESPN…I dont want to have to see that conehead Jon Barry and hear his awful predictions for another season! The other three guys I can live with.

  4. gerryb323 - Sep 11, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    Because what ESPN/ABC need is more of a Boston slant on their reporting…

    • dal24la - Sep 11, 2012 at 3:52 PM

      IDC about Simmons Boston slant because he knows how to separate his homerism from reality. A lot of homers can’t do that.

  5. thestudiokida - Sep 11, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    Agree completely regarding the TNT/ABC shows. I wish they’d dump Shaq but even with him Inside The NBA is among the best sports programs. Last season I missed one of the San Antonio/OKC games and rather than watching it on the DVR I just watched the post-game show with Kenny, Ernie and Sir Charles. Sometimes it’s better than the actual game.

    ABC’s first move should be to replace the cliche-prone Jon Barry with his brother, basketball genius Brent Barry. You need a great X’s and O’s guy to break down the tape. Then replace Broussard with Jeff Van Gundy so there’s at least one guy who tells it like it is. Barkley is so great because he isn’t afraid to call a player out for poor effort etc. The other guys are okay but personally I’d rather have Chris Webber as the positive smiley guy in Magic’s place.

    PS I love Bill Simmons but he definitely isn’t a TV guy, not yet anyway. He over-thinks minor angles then bounces it off people for a couple days until he’s created a league wide conspiracy out of thin air.

    • dal24la - Sep 11, 2012 at 3:54 PM

      I also love Simmons but I have to agree he isn’t a great TV guy.
      Nonetheless I will love him and SVG on this show in replacement of Jon Barry and Chris.

  6. rajbais - Sep 11, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    Simmons as a host?

    He doesn’t even have the hosting presence for a podcast.

    He’s a better low rate program sidekick.

    Hosts should be more sophisticated and have a better handle of a program than guys like Kevin Connors, Steve Bunin, Bill Simmons and Mike Wilbon.

    ESPN was an enabled by the moronic public to become a monopoly and it’s now journalistic and NBA studio show joke!!!

  7. jayrandle - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    I have to say Shaq only got the TNT anchor because he is Shaq.
    And its sad because they move Chris Weber out of the studio who actually brought insight and Intelligence to the program.

    Everything Shaq says is simple and he has a personal agenda all the time (whenever Dwight Howard plays he just insults him because of some pity ‘Superman’ beef.)
    He the same as when he plays…not prepared and take nights off.
    (Why does he personal start rumors about himself and later denies it? aka…becoming the General Manager of the Orlando Magic)

    I actually enjoy the bluntness to Stan Van Gundy even if I may not always agree with him. That would actually be a very entertaining show.

    Can ABC please replace Jon Barry…he makes wild predications that nevers pans out and tries to shock you with his comments but He just sounds uninformed…and in the playoffs after a team lose 1 game He sounds very dramatic as if the team is 3 games down in the series.

    I dont think anybody outside of New England wants to watch Bill Simmons.

  8. acdc363 - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    I would watch this.

  9. dls612 - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    John Barry is gone! Thank u God!!!

  10. timb12 - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    No Broussard? That’s upsetting.

  11. hojo20 - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    TNT should fire Shaq.

  12. eureca323 - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Removing Jon Barry is an improvement on its own.

  13. birdsflynorth206 - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Bye-Bye Chris Broussard and his “sources”

  14. dal24la - Sep 11, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    You know what Bill Simmons being on NBA today means?
    If the Lakers go to the Finals and win he won’t be able to duck the topic like he did in 2010.
    That would be a sight worth seeing.

  15. onbucky96 - Sep 11, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    WHY?! WHY?! This windbag will add NOTHING to the program. Join me America. Join me by turning the station everytime Stan is blowing hot air. I do the same thing whenever Tebow is on, yes, the remote gets a workout.

  16. callmetrl - Sep 11, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    TNT Inside the NBA is far and away the best pregame/halftime/postgame show, across all sports and all networks. But I would take Jon Barry/Chris Broussard/Rush Limbaugh/Player-To-Be-Named-Later over Shaq. He brings that show to a screeching halt (much like he did to the offenses of Phoenix and Boston).

    I never thought Broussard brought much to the table but I didn’t mind him, and I liked Jon Barry. I’m not sure how SVG is that much of an upgrade over either Broussard or Barry. I am a huge fan of Simmons, and even though I think he’s a better writer than a television host, I will probably be more likely to watch ESPN’s pregame show because of him.

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