Media noise: new media and old radio


I will be that guy. You know, the one who takes something completely innocuous that everyone likes and decides they should explain why that thing isn’t as great as everyone thinks. Invariably, this criticism will be preceded by the word “in fact”. Yeah, this guy.

So there you have it: As entertaining as Brian Windhorst’s two minutes of theatrical conjecture was on First take last Friday was actually a demonstration of things hosts and analysts should avoid. It was complacent. This came at the expense of the moderator, Christine Williamson, and co-panelists Freddie Coleman and Courtney Cronin. Above all, it was a deliberately vague way of communicating what should have been a fairly simple analysis: there were signs that Danny Ainge would do in Utah what he did in Boston, which is why Rudy Gobert might be on the trading block.

Windhorst’s soliloquy spawned a thousand memes and kept us entertained every Friday before a holiday weekend, but upon closer examination I decided it was like watching a man smell his own farts and the describe as if they were wine.

Look, I warned you I was going to be that guy. That doesn’t mean I’m wrong though.

The theatricality of Windhorst was memorable. They were funny. I took a screenshot of it myself. It’s not something to be imitated, however, nor advertised as some kind of master class. The result may have been unforgettable, but the process leading to it had serious problems. We’ll take a look.

Windhorst“There was a trade yesterday between the Utah Jazz and the Brooklyn Nets. A very strange trade. A very strange trade. You really would have to be a Jazz or Nets fan to know what I’m talking about right now.

Freddie Coleman: “OKAY.”

Windhorst“I don’t even know if you know what I’m talking about.”

Christine Williamson“I’m on the edge of my seat. I turned on notifications from Woj, but I can’t remember. »


Rhetorical questions are a terrible tool to use on a panel, unless you’re really looking to downplay your colleagues’ expertise. Windhorst openly wonders if they even know about the deal he’s talking about, which puts his colleagues in a no-win situation. If they respond correctly, they appear as students responding to the teacher. If they answer it incorrectly, it shows that they are as ignorant as he suggests.

Either way, Windhorst isn’t really looking for the answer. He seeks to create suspense, but he does so at the expense of his colleagues.

OKAY. Let’s resume.

Windhorst“They traded Royce O’Neale, who is a role-playing 3-point defensive shooter, to Brooklyn for a future first-round draft pick. And so you go, ‘What interests you about Royce O’Neale? Why is this important? Why would the Jazz do that?

“Why would the Jazz – who have two stars on their roster – take a player who is one of their starters and one of their best defensive players and trade him for salary dumping? Why would they do that?”

Courtney Cronin: “Open space to try to land Kevin?”

Windhorst: “Nope.”

Coleman: “As part of a three-way exchange?”

These are quite reasonable suggestions from Cronin and Coleman given that the question about the First take chyron is “Where is the best landing spot for Durant?” Windhorst asks questions and they try to be good teammates playing the game. Their reward is to look educated by Windhorst’s x-ray vision on the importance of this move, which he incidentally decided to make the centerpiece of a discussion that was supposed to be about Durant.

Let’s see where it goes next.

Windhorst“You say, ‘Why did Quin Snyder leave this job?'”

Williamson: (Bends) “OK?”

Windhorst“And you say, ‘When Danny Ainge, the last time he hired a coach, it was Brad Stevens.’ “

Coleman: “Right.”

I’m sorry, but you’re the one saying those things, Brian. You’re the one setting up this line of inquiry, and you let your co-workers try to guess where the hell you’re going using all that second-person construction.

Do you mean Danny Ainge could follow the same plan in Utah that he executed in Boston? Because that’s a very good point. And instead of letting everyone spin around trying to make it happen, why not, I don’t know, say what you want to say in as few words as possible. It’s kind of the whole idea of ​​effective communication.

OKAY. Sorry. Let yourself be carried away. Go ahead, resume, Brian.

Windhorst“What happened that same year? What did he do, when he hired this young coach who had never coached in the NBA before, and he gave him a long contract. He gave Brad Stevens a six-year contract. Will Hardy – who they just hired, who could potentially be a great young coach – they gave him a 5 year contract. Very rare for a rookie head coach to get a 5 year contract. Why? What’s going on in Utah?

Williamson“What’s going on in…”

Windhorst“And that’s what people in the league are looking at right now.”

Coleman: “OKAY.”

It’s time for me to ask a rhetorical question: Why in the world would it be surprising if the front office executives who run the other 28 NBA teams are intensely interested in this trade? Isn’t that what these executives are paid for? They are supposed to be intensely interested in what their competitors are doing. In fact, I think an executive would have to be criminally negligent to NOT wonder what that trade meant about the intentions and plans of this playoff team with a new GM who just traded a starter. Why is this remarkable?

Windhorst“What’s going on in Utah?”

OKAY. I’ll bite, Brian. What do you think is going on in Utah? I mean, I’m more interested in where Durant will end up, and it was supposed to be this segment, but we’re a long way from home now, and I’ve invested enough time that I’m legitimately curious about this that this Utah team with this new general manager and this new coach could do that would make them treat Royce O’Neale.

Windhorst“And so I think the Brooklyn Nets and the Phoenix Suns need to find out what’s going on in Utah as well. Because what else happened the first year Brad Stevens was hired? Danny Ainge traded Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

Coleman: “For the Brooklyn Nets.”

God bless Freddie Coleman. The man is trying. What a total pro. He’s been listening to Windhorst wander off in thought for almost two minutes now, and Coleman is trying, he’s really trying, to relate that to the real subject of this segment which is a potential destination for Durant. Alas no.

Windhorst“That job, that Royce (O’Neale) job, it was a very strange job.”

Now, credit is due: The O’Neale trade actually portends a sea change in Utah, which ended up offloading one of the two stars Windhorst mentioned, trading Rudy Gobert for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

It’s not the location of Windhorst’s soliloquy that’s my problem here, but its pitch selection. He clearly knew something was going on in Utah. He said it much later in an episode of his podcast, The Hoop Collective with Brian Windhorst.

Windhorst and Tim McMahaon were talking about the possibility of Gobert being traded the day before Windhorst First take appearance. McMahon leaked the actual details.

“It was pretty close to the trade that fell,” Windhorst said. “The biggest difference was that we thought Jaden McDaniels was going to be in this business. The Jazz wanted Jaden McDaniels in this trade. The ‘Wolves declined, and that’s reflected in the number of picks and the lack of protection on the picks.

OKAY. So why didn’t Windhorst say this more directly? Partly because he wanted to avoid this statement being aggregated as Jordan Bondurant summary to Barrett Sports Media on Thursday.

So instead of speaking his mind, Windhorst went through a two-minute journey of rhetorical questions and hand gestures, forcing his colleagues to follow along and try to guess what he was talking about. The end result was that a discussion of potential landing spots for Durant turned into a thorough examination of all the signs that pointed to the Jazz doing something big without ever saying anything big despite the fact that the man doing this examination had a pretty good idea what something big was.

Was it good television? Sure. It was memorable and cut on the Friday before a holiday weekend. It’s just not an approach anyone would be welcome to repeat, including Windhorst.


Comments are closed.