Flip Saunders: Former NBA Coach Joins ESPN in Analyst Role

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistOctober 31, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 11:  Head coach Flip Saunders of the Washington Wizards gives instructions to his team takes on the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on January 11, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Wizards 78-64. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Despite the fact that former NBA coach Flip Saunders hasn’t had much success in the league as a team’s head coach, he has remained one of the smartest men in the game and one of the most trusted basketball minds in the world.

Now he works for ESPN as an analyst for the league he knows so well.

According to ESPN, the two sides have reached a multiyear deal. The NBA veteran will “make regular appearances on a variety of ESPN studio shows, including SportsCenter, NBA Coast to Coast, NBA Tonight and other news and information programming.”

Saunders told ESPN about what it meant to be part of the company’s NBA team:

I’m excited to have the opportunity to share the insights and perspective I gathered during my coaching career with NBA fans. I admire ESPN’s NBA coverage, and I’m glad to be part of the team.

While Saunders has built up a negative reputation over the last few years because of his lack of success with the Washington Wizards, the game knowledge he has shown throughout his basketball career will make him a vital asset to ESPN’s NBA team.


What It Means

While the fans of ESPN’s studio team and NBA coverage as a whole may not be sold on this move, the hope is that Saunders will slide into his role effortlessly and become a big part of the telecasts.

With Chris Broussard needing to take a step back to become more of the Adam Schefter for the NBA world, the hope is that Saunders would be the one to eventually take a seat at the table with Jon Barry, Magic Johnson and Michael Wilbon.


What’s Next?

Before the hopes get too high, the acclimation from NBA head coach to TV analyst is one that many former NBA names have struggled to make.

Saunders has the smarts to fit the role, but is he entertaining enough to keep short segments interesting? That is the biggest question moving forward.

With his basketball I.Q. and his NBA experience, there is no reason Saunders can’t be a great NBA analyst and maybe even save the fans from some of the current ones.


Check back for more on the National Basketball Association as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s NBA page to get your fill of all things basketball.