A look ahead at the 2022-23 NBA season
First, developments during the off-season:
- Popular Minnesota Timberwolves TV announcer Dave Benz was fired by the team after ten seasons amid an ownership change in Minnesota. The Timberwolves brought in Michael Grady, the Brooklyn Nets’ sideline reporter, to succeed him.
- Justin Kutcher left after three seasons as the TV play-by-play announcer for the Washington Wizards in what was most likely a mutual decision between team and announcer. The Wizards stayed internal in choosing his replacement, elevating sideline reporter Chris Miller.
- WNBA star and future Hall of Famer Candace Parker will work some games as a color commentator this season for TNT, having spent the last two seasons as a studio analyst on the network’s Tuesday games.
- After two seasons of doing a TV/radio simulcast, the Orlando Magic will return to splitting their broadcasts again, with Jake Chapman moving from the pre and post game host to the radio play-by-play chair.
- The Toronto Raptors made a change in the analyst chair for the TSN half of their radio schedule, with Sherman Hamilton being replaced by Jevohn Shepherd. A Michigan alum who played for the Canadian national team, Shepherd had previously served as the analyst for the Raptors’ G-League affiliate, Raptors 905. Hamilton will continue to do studio work on TV for Sportsnet.
- Miami Heat radio analyst Ruth Riley Hunter left broadcasting to move to a role in basketball operations for the team. All indications are that radio play-by-play man Jason Jackson will work alone this season.
- We wish the NBA-TV Voice Mike Breen, a complete recovery from the fire he suffered at his Long Island home. In 2015 Yanks’ radio announcer John Sterling was hit similarly in his New Jersey apartment.
Additional opinions below are the views of the publisher, David J. Halberstam
TV: Bob Rathbun, Dominique Wilkins or Vince Carter
Radio: Steve Holman, Mike Conti
Holman has been around forever and his name intermingled with the club. Rathbun has been reliable forever too.
TV: Mike Gorman, Brian Scalabrine
Radio: Sean Grande, Cedric Maxwell
Gorman brings decades of accolades. He also did Big East hoops on ESPN when the league stole the show.
TV: Ian Eagle or Ryan Ruocco, Sarah Kustok or Richard Jefferson
Radio: Chris Carrino, Tim Capstraw
Eagle likes lots of work and Rucco fills in for him.
TV: Eric Collins, Dell Curry
Radio: Sam Farber, Matt Carroll
Collins hollers ways too much.
TV: Adam Amin or Jason Benetti, Stacey King
Radio: Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington
The radio pair are good and vibrant voices.
TV: John Michael, Austin Carr or Brad Daugherty
Radio: Tim Alcorn, Jim Chones
Alcorn’s voice is sepulchral. Alcorn did general radio before the death of the greatest radio NBAer, his mentor, Joe Tait.
TV: Mark Followill, Derek Harper or Jeff “Skin” Wade
Radio: Chuck Cooperstein, Brad Davis
Cooperstein has a strong NY accent and an invariably palpable voice of great energy.
TV: Chris Marlowe, Scott Hastings
Radio: Jason Kosmicki
Jason Kosmicki began as the engineer on the radio broadcasts, an unusual road to take to get on-air. He’s not bad.
TV: George Blaha or Johnny Kane, Greg Kelser
Radio: Mark Champion or George Blaha, Rick Mahorn
Blaha is 77. He also continues to do Michigan State Football. Too much, I think. Good guy. Time for Champion to do all radio.
TV: Bob Fitzgerald, Kelenna Azubuike
Radio: Tim Roye, Tom Tolbert or Jim Barnett
Roye is a warm fellow, over 25 years with club, added Stanford football this season. Fitzgerald didn’t get accolades for his work on NBC’s Olympics.
TV: Craig Ackerman, Ryan Hollins
Radio: Matt Thomas, Joel Blank
No one will ever come close to Gene Peterson! Sorry. “How sweet it is!”
TV: Chris Denari, Quinn Buckner
Radio: Mark Boyle, Eddie Gill
Boyle is an Indy institution, His style is understated. He fashions his broadcasts simply. Nice.
TV: Brian Sieman, Jim Jackson or Mike Fratello
Radio: Noah Eagle or Kevin Danna
We miss the man blessed with the Clippers’ mic for decades, Ralph Lawler. Can’t say more.
TV: Bill Macdonald, Stu Lantz
Radio: John Ireland, Mychal Thompson
John is pretty good. He never leaves listeners on a lurch. Stu Lantz on TV was connected at the hip with Chick Hearn. He remains vigorous at 76.
TV: Pete Pranica, Brevin Knight
Radio: Eric Hasseltine, Elliot Perry or Michael Wallace
I’ve heard both these TV and radio fellows. They do efficient work. No strong opinion.
TV: Eric Reid, John Crotty
Radio: Jason Jackson
Eric is firmly committed to the club, from the day that the franchise was born in 1988. No voice in Miami, any sport, has more tenure than Eric.
TV: Lisa Byington, Marques Johnson or Stephen Bardo
Radio: Dave Koehn, Ben Brust
When women play-by-by-players became fashionable, the NBA’s broadcast teams scurried for candidates. Byington and Scott in Philly, two women, joined the lady ranks. But Byington can’t shine Kate’s shoes.
TV: Michael Grady, Jim Petersen
Radio: Alan Horton
Grady replaced David Benz this season. Kevin Harlan was the club’s first announcer and most popular.
TV: Joel Meyers, Antonio Daniels
Radio: Todd Graffagnini, John DeShazier
The New Orleans marketplace is very loyal. At 68, Meyers is being embraced.
TV: Mike Breen or Kenny Albert, Walt “Clyde” Frazier or Wally Szczerbiak
Radio: Ed Cohen, Brendan Brown
Breen is considered the second coming of Marv, and like Marv, he studied the game.
TV: Chris Fisher, Michael Cage
Radio: Matt Pinto
Pinto shares way too many numbers, stats that are impossible to digest.
TV: David Steele, Jeff Turner
Radio: Jake Chapman
Steele was the Voice of University of Florida, both football and basketball. He’s been there since day one. A gentleman too.
TV: Kate Scott, Alaa Abdelnaby
Radio: Tom McGinnis
McGinnis is solid. Tom puts his heart into the game. Works alone. Marc Zumoff, upbeat and always well prepared retired before last season. Tough loss.
TV: Kevin Ray or Tom Leander, Eddie Johnson or Ann Meyers Drysdale
Radio: Al McCoy or Jon Bloom, Tim Kempton
Al McCoy still sounds sharp. Imagine, he turns 90 in April! He’s down to only home games now. On the air with the Suns since 1972, he did a simulcast for most of his fifty seasons to date. We should all be as blessed.
TV: Kevin Calabro, Lamar Hurd
Radio: Travis Demers, Michael Holton
Kevin presided over the Seattle Supersonics on their simulcasts. He didn’t move to Oklahoma City. Stylish with a big husky and voice that fills the room. This is his second stint with the Blazers.
TV: Bill Land or Dan Weiss, Sean Elliott
Radio: Bill Schoening
Schoening has been around long enough enough and he’s developed an efficient relationship with the community. He tells it like it is.
TV: Mark Jones or Kyle Draper, Kayte Christensen-Hunter
Radio: Gary Gerould
Gary’s name is best known in car-racing broadcast circles and in Sacramento where he’s called Kings’ games since they moved there in 1985.
TV: Matt Devlin, Jack Armstrong or Alvin Williams
Radio: Paul Jones, Jevohn Shepherd or Eric Smith, Paul Jones
Paul Jones, Mark’s brother has an exquisite vocabulary and uses handy phrases. Brother Mark has a command of the language too. Something like, “The coach is exhorting his ballclub, leaning over the sideline, like he was trying to hail a cab.”
TV: Craig Bolerjack, Thurl Bailey or Holly Rowe
Radio: David Locke, Ron Boone
There’s only one Voice in Jazz history. From New Orleans to Salt Lake City, Hot Rod Hundley. Very stylized. His sidekick is still there, soft-spoken, Ron Boone. As a guard, he played 1,041 straight ABA and NBA games, a record. He’s been there since 1988.
TV: Chris Miller, Drew Gooden
Radio: Dave Johnson, Glenn Consor
Johnson has had to miss games because due to health issues. He’s been at it a long time.
Lead team: Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson
Other announcers: Mark Jones, Dave Pasch, Ryan Ruocco, Beth Mowins, Brian Custer, Marc Kestecher (PxP), Doris Burke, Hubie Brown, Richard Jefferson, JJ Redick, Vince Carter (Color)
Lead team: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Stan Van Gundy
Other announcers: Ian Eagle, Brian Anderson, Spero Dedes, Matt Winer (PxP), Jim Jackson, Grant Hill, Candace Parker, Greg Anthony, Brendan Haywood (Color)