Steve Brownlee column: TV analysts show what they don’t know
I didn’t pay a lot of attention to all the hype surrounding the NBA Finals that ended Thursday with Miami’s Game 7 victory.
But I watched it here and there, catching a few of the ESPN daytime shows and some of that network’s postgame analysis on ABC.
I didn’t even see most of the games as my evening TV viewing time was taken up with weekend night shifts here at The Mining Journal and Detroit Tigers coverage on Fox Sports Detroit.
But I must’ve paid just the right amount of attention during the past two weeks that it made something really stick out in my mind more than ever before – the Chicken Little, sky-is-falling theme by nearly every commentator-analyst.
After a Spurs win, the theme was San Antonio’s wily veterans fooling LeBron James and Co., then as soon as the Heat took a victory, it became how anemic the Spurs’ old guys looked when facing Miami’s budding dynasty.
Because of this finals’ unique distribution of wins – neither team won two games in a row until the Heat took Games 6 and 7 – their analysis kept careening back and forth like cars at a demolition derby.
It was quite jarring to hear LeBron be compared favorably to Michael Jordan one day, then be “shown” as a fake, a poser, the next day by the same people. Especially if I hadn’t seen the intervening game or heard a whole lot about it. What could possibly turn these guys around so completely in 24 hours?
Thinking about why this bothered me so, I realized I actually had noticed this before, but would forgot it quickly when pondering all the points made by the talking heads.
This year, though, the finals didn’t much interest me. I rooted for San Antonio mainly because they weren’t the Heat, a good name for a team that generates more of that than substance, it seems.
By the leadup to Tuesday’s Game 6, after a Spurs win gave them a 3-2 series lead, I found myself totally skeptical of every positive thing the analysts said about the team I was rooting for.
With just one or two exceptions after Games 1 and 2 when a few ex-NBA players mentioned it was too early at that point to call the series, everybody based their forecasts so utterly and completely on how the teams looked in their last game.
Then when the previous game’s winner turned into a loser, these analysts were shown to be rank amateurs – again and again and again.
C’mon, don’t you think NBA coaches and players know how to make adjustments, either in strategy or the players they employ in various situations?
Even superstars can have off games. Just because the game is important doesn’t mean you can will a great shooting touch out of the clear blue sky.
I would’ve hoped that the analysis would lead to a conclusion, but it seems that it’s the other way around – come up with a gut feeling, then find all the information that supports it.
When nothing else is available, you can cite some obscure statistic like how Tim Duncan was the first player 6-foot-10 or taller to make three 3-pointers in a half while pulling down five rebounds or more and wearing a home uniform on the road.
Yep, that’s why the Spurs will win it all. And we know how that turned out.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246. His email address is email@example.com.