ESPN Retools NBA ShootaroundESPN has shuffled the lineup for its NBA Shootaround pregame show. Fred Hickman is the new host and he is joined by former NBA players Greg Anthony, Jamal Mashburn and Kiki Vandeweghe. Stephen A. Smith is also part of the mix but he was not on Friday night's show because of a death in his family.
The rebooted NBA Shootaround has a toned down style compared to last year, when the cast indulged in a lot of schtick and did a lot of screaming at each other. Hopefully the show will stay on this path when Smith returns. There is nothing wrong with injecting humor in the broadcast from time to time but if viewers were looking for a steady diet of laughs then they would tune in to Comedy Central. Anthony, Mashburn and Vandeweghe are on the set because they played in the NBA, so it makes sense for them to primarily focus on analyzing the game.
Perhaps the most interesting segment in Friday's show dealt with Amare Stoudemire's attempt to come back from microfracture surgery. Jamal Mashburn has a unique understanding of that issue as a former All-Star who battled numerous injuries in his career and never fully recovered from microfracture surgery. Mashburn said that after having surgery on his knee he could no longer explode to the hoop, absorb body contact and finish at the rim. The days of him using a crossover dribble to set up a drive to the basket were over and he had to settle for using that move to set up a pull up jump shot. Mashburn added that the other thing that happens after a knee injury is that there is a tendency to compensate by favoring the strong knee, which then becomes susceptible to getting injured as well. He concluded that he "had to manage (within) my limitations" and that Amare will have to learn to do this as well because it is unlikely that he will ever completely return to his pre-injury form. Mashburn supplemented his explanations by going on to the court on the Shootaround set and demonstrating the difference between the moves he made before and after he hurt his knee.
Mashburn's descriptions of the adjustments that he had to make parallel what James Silas and Austin Carr told me about the knee injuries that they suffered during their All-Star careers in the 1970s.
Hopefully, that kind of information and analysis will be the trademark of the new NBA Shootaround.
posted by David Friedman @ 1:16 AM