Friday, July 28, 2006

Friday Guest Spot

TP43 wrote last week asking for some discussion on a topic I know almost nothing about...Blazer radio commentary. I've been out of the broadcast area for a decade so you can count the number of times I've heard Brian Wheeler on one hand and the number of times I've heard Antonio Harvey work on zero. So I've asked TP to step in with a Friday Guest Column on the topic, which might become a semi-regular feature around here if enough people want to submit opinions/questions. Here's TP:

In Need of Analysis

With the addition of Nate and the apparent ascension of Pritchard, (still not a Patterson guy) you get the feeling the front office is making progress and rounding into form. The roster is beginning to be populated by hardworking, well behaved, character guys--with two notable exceptions--so you feel like that area is on the right track. There is a third area, the broadcast team, that plays a key role in the fan experience. The rest of the broadcast team is pretty good with Wheels & Rice and I've grown to appreciate Barrett more than I thought I would but the odd man out in my mind is Antonio Harvey. As a person, I like Antonio well enough but frankly he sometimes strikes me as a fill in that didn't quite pan out due to a lack of preparation, ability to articulate, provide insight to what goes on behind the scenes, or nuances in-game.

To me, a radio color guy should be a former long-term Blazer player or coach, someone who "gets" Portland, well spoken, a straight shooter who isn't afraid to criticize if warranted, and is very strong in either of these two areas: the ability to add insight to the inner workings of the team and what it is trying to get done out on the floor in the mold of a Hubie Brown, or be loaded with anecdotes and player insights like a Mychal Thompson type. Not saying these two are my favorites, just handy examples of the general types of broadcasters that seem to add the most.

What about someone like Jimmy Lynam? He spent some time here in Portland, he's very well spoken, he seems to be a stand up guy who will tell it like it is, he's got the obvious X's & O's credentials, and with his long tenure in the NBA he's got a million stories to tell.

What's your opinion of Antonio Harvey, who would you replace him with if he needs to go, and why the new selection?



I would add to that...who is/was your favorite Blazer radio analyst of all time? (Keep in mind that Schonely and Wheels are play-by-play guys.)

--Dave (


Blogger BLAZER PROPHET said...

To me, it's a non-issue. Harvey is a rookie and needs time to learn his trade- just like Rice and all before him as well. Harvey made improvements as the season progressed and I hope he will continue to do so.

11:59 AM  
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Blogger Ken said...

I, too, am far out of the market. Having had League Pass since its inception, though, I can tell you who my favorite "color guy" is in the league outside of the Blazers.

Sean Elliott. The guy is nothing but class even though he is single handedly responsible for breaking our collective Blazer hearts.

Least favorite, the Sacramento guys, especially Napier. They are painful to watch.

Guy who is reasonably insightful but I can't listen to: Clyde Frazier. There's something about the cadence of his speech that reminds me of the copier guy from Saturday Night Live.

Clyde Drexler did OK last year in Houston, by the way.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Earl said...

I'm partial to Rice even though he's a bit Walton-esque with how he goes overboard sometimes. Who by the way is my least favorite color anouncer of all time. I know he does TV and the subject was radio but when I turn on a game and I hear him commentating I almost want to turn it off. To him every play is one of the greatest he's ever seen. And every player is the best, player, shooter, passer, dribbler, dunker, shot-blocker, defender, talker, dancer, or some other ridiculous category of "all time". On the opposite side of that is Steve "Snapper" Jones, who is my favorite analyst of all time. He's not only articulate but incredibly insightful.

For radio though, I have to go with Rice, he has good insight and is with the team all the time so he can tell us a lot of things that we wouldn't otherwise know.

2:01 PM  
Blogger BLAZER PROPHET said...

I agree- Walton is terrible. I like Steve Jones.

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Mortimer said...

STEVE JONES, hands down the best Blazers TV guy, and one of the best nationally (my personal favorite, anyways).

But for radio...

Last season I was in Germany for most of it, and got the NBA Radio pass to listen to games, and got a pretty good exposure to other teams broadcasts.

The Blazers, with Brian Wheeler, actually had one of the best. Wheels is probably the best play by play guy I heard, and I listened to them all...

Most are dreadfully boring, kinda shocking how poor the productions were for a NBA team.

Harvey was pretty awful at times, but I'll give him a chance since he's a beginner. He was always much more at ease during the pre and post game stuff, and then had marbles in his mouth for the game itself. Plus, he has a habit of starting to talk with having no idea where he's going... and not being quick enough to compensate.

But like I said, I'd chalk it up to newbieness and nerves cause he isn't that bad during the warmup and post game reports. Not that GREAT, but oh well...

Wheels is really good though. I never even really thought of it till I listened to everyone else... the Blazers should start offering multiyear contracts to Wheeler again.


3:44 PM  
Anonymous jorga said...

I think that Steve Jones offered everything that TP cited, plus the fact that he has a very easy-to-listen-to voice.

Mike Rice has never completely grown on me. Agree with Earl that his superlatives are overdone. I wanted to throw something at the tv whenever he said "in the entire NBA." I also think that his (and MB's) insider comments about playing golf or tennis or whatever they do together are not appropriate. I really don't care that they are buddies on the road.

Since it was only last year that my interest in the Blazers was rekindled I heard very little radio and can't comment on Harvey. I could change my viewing habits and watch tv and listen to the radio, but TiVo has spoiled me for watching live tv.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous brian said...

Steve Jones was easily the best analyist the Blazers have ever had. I had League Pass last year and I have to say the Blazer guys were reasonably good compared to others from around the country.
That said, I find Rice's "analyses" to be mind-numbingly obvious in most cases. He never really gets too much into what the other teams are doing and doesn't seem to have much info on the opposing teams' players. Agree with others that he over does it on the superlatives. Plus, he's just SUCH A HOMIE for the Blazers (but that's not unusual for the local broadcasters).
Wheels does OK as the play by play guy. However, I cringe whenever I see he's going to be a guest on one of the O-live chats. He extremely long winded and tends to repeat his point at least 3 times in response to any given question.

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Dave said...

I actually kinda like Harvey. His raw and unpolished style appeals to me. Wheels is strong enough to hold it all together. Antonio strikes me as a regular guy who happens to have insights into the game the casual fan might appreciate. He could use some refinement but I hope he doesn't become too 'professional'.

On a related matter; where I live, the station from Salt Lake City comes in much better than most Blazer stations so I listen to Jazz games quite often. For play-by-play, I enjoy Hot Rod Hundley's call. He's one of the most neutral announcers I've heard. I feel like I'm getting an accurate description of the game itself with the analyst providing the Utah perspective.

Wheels is very good but there will never be another one like the Shonz.

One more note: I can't over-emphasize the importance of good chemistry between the announcing crew. When that's clicking, it's usually always good. When it's not, it's ugly - even on the radio.

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