Shaquille O'Neal and the Worst Analysts in the Game Today
Most people saw the Shaq hiring as a not-so-savvy ploy by the network to get ratings by throwing a well-known and relatively well-liked personality onto the other side of the table across from Charles Barkley, and most people seem to be right.
Shaq didn't crash and burn out of the gate, mostly because the team carrying him is the best trio of analysts on television, but he didn't really do much all season long to improve, either.
At the end of the day, it seems like the final word on Shaq is up in the air, especially since he is only in his first season as a part of the team and could very well get better next season, but that all remains to be seen.
Something we can see right now is where Shaq ranks among the worst NBA analysts in the game today.
Spoiler alert: He's probably going to be somewhere near the top.
10. Reggie Miller
I'm always going back and forth on whether or not I am fond of Reggie Miller as an analyst and a color commentator.
I usually decide that he's fine as a part of a broadcast team, but when he's expected to analyze in a longer, more prepared format, he just doesn't translate.
Miller is decent as a color man because he works well in the flow of the game, but when he's working as an analyst, whether it be appearing on ESPN or whatever, he always seems to sound ill-prepared and to be reading from a teleprompter.
9. Chris Mullin
This is a fleeting stop on this list for Chris Mullin, as he's making rapid improvements in front of the camera in his first year as an NBA analyst for ESPN.
He's gotten a fair amount of time as a color commentator in games here and there, which has helped him improve immensely from the nervous, boring guy that he was near the beginning of his television career.
Still, Mullin seems to be a bit shaky from time to time when he's on SportsCenter and has some troubles going off script, but he's getting there quicker than others have in the past.
8. Ric Bucher
I've always been a fan of Ric Bucher the "NBA Insider" and Ric Bucher the breaker of trades, but when Bucher ends up on television breaking down a game—or worse, on the sidelines as the ever-useless sideline reporter—it takes a turn toward unbearable.
Bucher has always had that smug look about him, which I can easily get over if he ends up saying something insightful or important, but he almost never does when breaking down a game.
He seems to always keep from digging too deeply in the analysis of any given game, which makes it seem like he isn't trying as hard as he could be.
7. Jalen Rose
Jalen Rose seems to be constantly bouncing around from show to show as an NBA analyst.
I think it's because once he gets to a new show, the people there start to realize that he's not actually any good.
As a part of 1st and 10 (on the off chance that Skip Bayless doesn't run me away from that show as soon as I turn the television on), he always seems to be on the losing end of the argument, even when the guy he's arguing with is spewing vitriol from every orifice.
6. Chris Broussard
Normally, I am one to defend Chris Broussard.
I think he gets a bad rap for what he does for ESPN as a rumor hound, and he's actually a smart basketball mind.
But there is one thing that I cannot stand about seeing this man gracing my television set; there is not a person on TV with a more grating, ear-splitting voice.
Usually, I can get past an annoying voice if what the voice is saying makes sense, but Broussard's voice box sounds like it's a balloon constantly releasing air.
5. Magic Johnson
I don't think Magic Johnson will ever be a good analyst. He'll just be slightly less bad every year that he stays on camera.
Johnson is horrible at talking off the top of his head, constantly stumbling over his words, and somehow, he's even worse at reading a teleprompter.
Basically, if you want to know about Magic as an analyst, just watch this, and you'll know everything you need to know.
4. Jon Barry
Jon Barry has turned into the worst part of a boring quartet of analysts over on ESPN.
ESPN's NBA Shootaround featuring Barry, Mike Wilbon, Magic Johnson and Chris Broussard comes at us from all angles with bad analysis.
Wilbon is fine, but you get incoherent thoughts from Magic, a whiny, grating voice from Broussard and then generic comments from Barry that still manage to make him seem full of himself.
Maybe they should just add Shaq to their team, and we can avoid all of our least-favorite analysts in one fell swoop.
3. Doris Burke
Doris Burke is gradually starting to make me cringe less every time I hear her voice, but it's an extremely slow process.
As an NBA analyst, not much can be said about Burke.
I never really disliked her as a sideline reporter, but then again, the sideline reporter job is so hard to screw up that you'd have to be Shaq to mess it up (actually, Shaq would probably be pretty entertaining as a sideline reporter).
I'm not sure if she'll ever approach respectability as an analyst, but I know it's going to take a whole hell of a lot of baby steps for her to get there.
2. Shaquille O'Neal
Hey, would you look at that? Shaq isn't the worst.
It's been said many times over the past five months, but the worst trade of the offseason was when Inside the NBA flipped Chris Webber for Shaquille O'Neal.
At this point, I'm still trying to figure out what exactly it is that makes Shaq so bad, and I've gotten it narrowed down to one thing: everything he does.
Shaq is still a mumbler, although they seem to have gotten him to enunciate more as the season has gone along. And he's an attention hog, as seen from his constant outbursts during highlights.
Beyond that, Shaq has his unintentionally funny moments, which I once thought would be enough to make up for his terrible on-camera presence. I was wrong.
1. Stephen A. Smith
Stephen A. Smith is the bane of my existence. The fact that he was once a semi-respectable sports journalist is just baffling to me.
At this point, Smith is valuable to ESPN for one thing and one thing only: He is the best person on that network at getting Skip Bayless riled up, and that means bad news for the rest of us.
When he's not spouting off about this or that with Bayless in his ever-so-abrasive manner, he's on ESPN as an over-glorified analyst while doing little more than anybody with a half-decent knowledge of basketball could do.
He had a show canceled once by ESPN. Let's just hope that it happens again sometime soon.
If you are one of those Twitterers, you can follow me @JDorsey33.