Air Check: The King And Pop

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — For NBA fans like us, there’s nothing better than League Pass. Having the ability to watch every game every night (and then again the next day) is heaven.

Of course, with local broadcasts, you get local broadcasters, which can be good and bad. It can be good, because these guys know their teams better than most national broadcasters. It can be bad, because these guys love their teams more than most national broadcasters. And they’re usually not afraid to show that love.

Air Check is where we highlight the best and worst of NBA broadcasts.

Efficiency is in the eye of the beholder

After a timeout during the Pistons-Wizards match Saturday, the Washington broadcast came back with Steve Buckhantz saying “Two of the most efficient players in the NBA are playing here tonight.”

At that point, your mind races. Andre Drummond and Martell Webster? Both are near the top of the league in effective field goal percentage.

No, Buckhantz was talking about a couple of other guys…

VIDEO: Wizards’ broadcaster Steve Buckhantz has high praise for John Wall and Brandon Jennings

So, Buckhantz called John Wall and Brandon Jennings “two of the most efficient players in the league” because they ranked second and third in games with at least 10 assists and less than four turnovers. That’s an interesting definition of efficiency.

At the time, Wall and Jennings ranked 203rd and 229th in effective field goal percentage among 247 players who had attempted at least 150 shots from the field. Their true shooting percentage ranks among the same group were slightly better: 152nd and 222nd.

Oh, if you want to go back to assists and turnovers, Jennings and Wall ranked 18th and 29th in assist/turnover ratio among qualified players.

So yeah, that stat that the Wizards showed – in which Chris Paul was lapping the field, by the way – could have used some context. And to top it off, Wall threw the ball out of bounds on the first possession after they showed it.

The King of Air Check returns

If you’ve been reading Air Check for the last couple of years, you’re familiar with the shots Scott Hastings takes at the officials. If you haven’t, see some examples here, here and here.

Let’s add this one to the list…

VIDEO: Scott Hastings demonstrates why he is the best

“I’m telling you,” Hastings says after Evan Fournier gets a bucket, “in a year or two, if he doesn’t get that call as an and-one, then officiating is as bad as I thought.”

That’s why he’s the King.

The fear of Pop

You’ve certainly seen Jeff Van Gundy‘s between-quarters “interview” with Gregg Popovich from a couple of weeks ago, probably the best broadcasting moment of the season…

VIDEO: Jeff Van Gundy and Gregg Popovich share a special moment

A week later, the Spurs were on ESPN again. And again, there was no sideline reporter. So play-by-play man Dave Pasch and analyst Jon Barry flipped a coin to see who had to do the interview. Pasch lost and got the standard Popovich treatment…

VIDEO: Dave Pasch loses coin toss and interviews Popovich


  1. Efficiency is in the Eye of the beholder. Buckhants talking about J wall efficient low turnovers— nek minute turnover. ha curse of commentator

  2. just my observation as a nba fan i watch ball everyday. I watched spurs all thru last years playoffs and wow they played well,I don’t think they could of played much better and admit I was celebrating early in the attempted close out game. That loss gutted me and so i can only imagine what it would of done for Spurs. Thats why this year Pop and spurs are joking around alot more because that loss really eats at them inside and they know they lost there best chance at another ring with Pop/Duncan/Parker/Manu. Duncan and Manu are slowly declining every year (still great players) So many young athletic strong players in this league and player development Aldridge/Lillard P George/Stephenson Durant/Reggie Jackson. Parker will have to play out of his skin for spurs to win it all and have role players firing on all cylinders. Good to see P Mills getting mins playing good ball young aussie sharp shooter!

  3. OKC says:

    Spurs may be the all around funniest team between pop and his guys.

  4. emevipeelad234 says:

    nba in kiwi land you don’t know nothing about basketball, i think the spurs will win their next 41 games in a row, dunking like champions and doing marvelous steals and everybody will be like “hooooo it’s like a dream i’m so lucky to be on earth i want to live in the popovic’s hood to smell farts he could do”

  5. dustydreamnz says:

    I think the West is a lottery but San Antonio is my top pick.
    Reasons being their coach, their experience and their bench is excellent. Tiago Splitter will return soon.
    You are right about Green, Leonard has been poor this season too so much will depend on him lifting his game.

  6. Spurs like miami havnt really improved and hasnt had the same production from green. Where other contenders i.e okc and Indiana have made dramatic improvements. San are always dangerous in playoffs but I think there just going to fall short this year in western conf finals

    • 11 says:

      What do you know about Basketball???

    • From Holland says:

      You are forgetting about Belinelli. He has been a great addition to this team. And even though their roster hasn’t improved much, they still manage to be one of the top teams, even when two of the starters (Green and Splitter) are out. But you’re right, OKC has improved and has an MVP level KD.