ESPN has been known to pull announcer stunts before (see Dick Vitale on NBA games) and they followed the same model on Friday night. The Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, was added as a color commentator to the Heat-Warriors telecast along with Dan Shulman and Mark Jackson. Though the haters brought their criticism, I thought Simmons did fine.
At first he brought a really genuine feeling to the telecast joking he was excited the Bulls-Lakers game didn’t go into overtime because he was excited to do his “stand-up” introduction to the game. Simmons got in a few Steve Kerr references, one of which was regarding Carlos Arroyo’s role on the team. He brought his typical humor when talking about Reggie Williams saying he made the list of Top 75 D-League stories and that Dorell Wright was “playing like a spurned girlfriend.”
Simmons seemed to be most comfortable picking on the little guys. In addition to Dorell Wright and Reggie Williams, Dan Gadzuric was one of his targets. He pointed out something most announcers wouldn’t touch, that Gadzuric is playing harder now that he’s going to be a free agent than he was in Milwaukee where he had a nice contract. Also, he mentioned that the story about players lacking confidence in Erik Spoelstra likely came from LeBron’s camp, something else most announcers wouldn’t be bold enough to say.