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Saturday, October 28, 2006

ESPN Retools NBA Shootaround

ESPN 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

4 comments

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4 Comments:

At Saturday, October 28, 2006 2:19:00 AM, Blogger illest said...

Sounds good. Except for Smith. He annoying and needs to relax. He is irrelevant to the show. I want to hear what past players have to say, not him. They need to bring Tim Hardaway back.........just playing

That microfracture surgery wow....players like Allan Houston, Penny, Grant Hill, Webber, and Jason Kidd had it so Im worried about Amare. Hes like one of the few NBA players that I like.

 
At Saturday, October 28, 2006 2:41:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Hey, Timmy was good in those old commercials: "I've got skillz!" Not everyone is cut out to be a TV commentator, even guys who have a good understanding of the game. Watching Hardaway try to do it reminded me of the old Brady Bunch episode when Cindy Brady appeared on TV and froze as soon as she saw the red light on the camera come on.

A lot of people don't understand what microfracture surgery is or why it was invented. The knee joint does not have a blood supply; that is why it heals slowly in the first place. Guys who have serious cartilage damage used to simply have to deal with a lot of pain or retire. Then someone came up with the idea of creating little breaks in the kneecap; the resulting scar tissue would take the place of the missing cartilage. Yes, that's right--the doctors basically break the patient's knee and rely on the resulting scar tissue to fill the void! That's why it's called microFRACTURE. It sounds gruesome but the only other choice for those guys is to retire, although a lot of them end up doing it anyway. The theory behind microfracture makes sense, at least for a layperson's knee, but I'm not sure how well such a knee can hold up to the rigors of pro sports. JKidd is the only guy I know of who has returned to anywhere near his pre-injury form. CWebb is a shadow of himself and the rest of the guys are out of the league. NFL lineman Courtney Brown had this procedure done, also. Sad to say, I think that Amare's high flying days are largely over; his best hope is to remake himself a la Antonio McDyess and rely on his knowledge of the game, desire and a 15 foot jump shot.

By the way, Grant Hill has a rebuilt ankle and never had microfracture surgery.

 
At Saturday, October 28, 2006 11:19:00 AM, Blogger illest said...

Oh true Hill didnt.

 
At Saturday, October 28, 2006 1:00:00 PM, Blogger "rem" said...

player's insight / experience essential to any show but there is never a need to belittle what others do in the hope of getting a few laffs

 

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