From Sports Media Watch:
So, ESPN is (apparently) going to go with Stuart Scott, Bill Walton, and Stephen A. Smith for their studio show throughout the year.
On Stuart Scott: The dude doesn't really put out that many opinions, he really just hosts and interviews. As far as that goes, he's decent. However, I get the feeling that this guy is a real asshole off stage. For example, when watching "Stump the Schwab" on ESPN Classic, he said "Oh (insert guys name here)" and the guy said "I can show you how to rock the tie after the show!" and Scott said, "Looks like you'll have to rock that tie right out of here!" First impressions leave big marks, and I don't think he's a nice guy. Not to mention that in interviews he really just wants to get ESPNs point across, which usually involves questions like, "How did you FEEL about getting drafted this early? Are you proud? I've heard you like cooking! How does it feel like getting down 22 at the half?" It usually gets dumb responses like, "Uhhhh, I feel Great! I'm very proud of myself. My mom feels great about this, she's so proud! Man, I'm so depressed about it. Looks like we'll have to work harder in the second half!" So, overall he gets a 8/10.
On Bill Walton: The dude is not as good as Tom Tolbert, but he's decent. He knows his stuff. I saw him walk past me at a Hornets game once (Opening Night, 2004). Dude is tall. He looked busy though, so I didn't bother him. Overall 6/10
On Stephen A. Smith: Loudmouthed idiot. In the 2006 NBA Draft, he was like, "Why are we spending all of this time talking about the Portland Trail Blazers! Noone cares what they're doing, they suck!" The crowd then proceeded to chant "Stephen A.!" In the 2007 draft, he complimented the TrailBlazers, saying they made great moves and will be an excellent team in a few years. This really explains it all. If the dude wanted to be a preacher, he would be a good one. I say this because he has excellent speech type and inflection. He can say nonsense so effectively that most people will believe it. In reality, what he says is mostly hot air....and kelp. Overall 2.5/10.
(Statement on preachers wasn't a bash on anything, just emphasizing how a good preacher must have good speech inflections.)
So, the combo gets a 5/10 overall, but really, I wasn't expecting anything different.
To have something to compare it to, I'll rate the TNT analysts:
Ernie Johnson- The dude is a veteran of sports hoasting. In fact, he is an example of what all sports hoasts should strive for. He knows his stuff, he asks relevent questions, he steps into the debate when need be, and yet doesn't jam his foot in when he doesn't need to. MEanwhile, he's part of a legendary broadcasting trio which he is very comfortable with. 10/10
Kenny Smith- Probobly the weakest part of the trio. He's a decent analyst, but what makes the show great is his chemistry. He can point out obvious things, but he will never really get in depth. I still enjoy him more than, say, a Bill Walton. 7.5/10
Charles Barkley- Ah, Sir Charles. The name just brings a greath of fresh air to your face, doesn't it? He is a pretty good analysis guy, he just holds large grudges. I mean, I remember him during the Warriors-Mavericks series repeadtedly telling Dirk to "take the small mans ass down to the block and punish him". However, once the series started, his statements were overblown, and he ragged on Oakland, he simply would not give up his quest, due to his pride. He couldn't admit saying the Warriors had the advantage calling the series a "National Travesty". However, this simply adds to the fun and makes the show pure comedy gold that you'll never get on ABC or ESPN. 7/10
Overall, the studio gets a 9/10.
But how then, Zorgon, could ESPN/ABC improve their studio show to be like TNTs? Well, here's how:
Bring up some people from NBATV.
Andre Aldridge is an excellent host, rivaling Ernie Johnsons ability. He shows the ability to do EXCELLENT interviews (Watch some of his Hall of Fame stories, or the interview hie did with Bill Russell during the 2005 Playoffs). He also has his own words for highlights when he does the Play-by-Play in some of the replays, and says things like "COAST to COAST" in a memorable way or saying an inside joke such as "He doesn't need to go to camp, he'll bring the camp right to YOU!" (Magic Johnson's DVDs) I really can't think of much of a downside, but I'm pretty biased as I like him too much. 9.5/10
Rick Kamla may throw stats at you and be addicted to Fantasy Basketball, but that also means he REALLY knows his players. A very good thing. 8/10
Fred Carter isn't a guy who will just send out guys to do the research for him, he reaserches himself, and that shows dedication. And yes, I mean every last team. 8.5/10
Alaa Abdelnaby is decent. 7/10
Peter Vescey is just as bad of a bandwaggoner as Steve Kerr. He's also clueless about lower-tier teams. 4/10
Okay, what else could they do?
Improve the music. I am SICK AND TIRED of that damn slow trumpet going "DO-DO, dododododododododo. BOOOM BOOOM" etc. It's just boring. Either compose a good, fast paced song or bring back Roundball Rock. End of story. And NEVER, EVER put in "Running Down a Train" AGAIN! It DOES NOT hype me up for the playoffs!
Improve the presentation. Us folks with 4:3 tube TVs don't appreciate your bottom scorebug. Not all of us are consumerists and just JUMP RIGHT ON THAT HD BANDWAGON! No. I prefer my 16 year old 25 inch tube TV, and it suits me just fine. So stop not letting me see the score!
Do real interviews. Don't ask players "How they feel." Ever. Again. I've already elaborated above.
Don't extend interviews into gameplay. Just because you have Bruce Willis or Jessica Alba on the sideline doesn't mean I want to listen to them say, "Man, Kobes scoring a lot of points." No, no, and thrice no. How about a fourth no? Especially while the GAME is going on! Comeon, guys!
No more asking "the question of death". These usually consist of asking LaDanian Tomlinson how he feels about his coaching change DURING THE CELEBRITY ALL-STAR GAME! Let him have fun, for god sakes! Another good example of asking a College Basketball coach how he feels about So-and-so going to the NBA DURING A COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME. Let these people relax, and get off of their toes! Jeez!
Okay, I've ranted, I've vented, gotten it all out. So if you're really angry now, go YouTube some old NBA on NBC clips. It does a body good.