The rumors of Bill Simmons replacing Chris Broussard on NBA countdown have grown to the point that the latter resorted to responding on his twitter account:
Lol. This twitter stuff is crazy. I have not been fired; I still work at ESPN.
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) September 11, 2012
It began back on August 23, when we reported Simmons was being “strongly considered” as an addition to NBA Countdown, with Broussard being re-assigned into some type of reporter role. Sports by Brooks tweeted this week that Simmons was indeed going to replace Broussard, and that Stan Van Gundy was also joining Countdown, replacing Jon Barry.
If both changes happen, I think this could be a stroke of brilliance by the network. Anyone who watched the show during the NBA Finals could see how strange it was to have Broussard on set. He didn’t really have a role on the show – insider? Guy with an opinion? – and ended up just talking strategy with two former NBA players. It pulled him away from the area he excels in – reporting – and that showed when he struggled during free agency and then yelled at all the “haters” on twitter. Barry, like he was during his NBA career, was a solid role player. Van Gundy, one of the best quotes in the league during his years as a coach, is blunt and hilarious, but never comes across as annoying or a know-it-all.
Toss in Van Gundy’s dust-up last season with Dwight Howard, Howard’s move to the Lakers, Magic being a part-owner of the Lakers, and Bill Simmons being a Celtics fan, and you’ve got a recipe for significant improvement. And the show will be based in LA, which might mean additional security could be necessary for Van Gundy.
ESPN’s new team – at least the one being discussed – is a well-built one:
The affable former coach: Van Gundy
The respected media veteran: Wilbon
The non-traditional media star: Simmons
The Hall of Famer: Magic
The only lingering question will be the host situation. Does Wilbon play it more like Ernie on Inside the NBA, or do they go with no host and rotate the discussion, the way things are done on PTI?