ESPN changed its top NBA broadcast team for the upcoming season, adding Doris Burke and Doc Rivers to call games with Mike Breen, while letting Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson go.
It should be a pretty great booth — Burke is as good as it gets in that role, while Rivers is a gigantic personality and will bring a coach’s perspective on things — but someone from the network’s main rival has some questions about the decision-making process here. In an interview with Front Office Sports, TNT’s Kenny Smith expressed skepticism over laying off Jackson and Van Gundy.
“I’m not really sure how they’re [ESPN] doing it,” Smith said. “I’m not really versed on why they’re doing all their cuts and how, is it budgetary? Because certain guys are getting let go, and then you hire someone else for more money. I have no idea why they’re doing it, but stability is what brings success.”
The continuity that has existed on Inside the NBA is both a rarity and a big part of what has made it the best studio show in sports, so it makes sense that Smith would believe this is an important piece of the puzzle.