Will the Warriors defend their NBA championship and repeat their 2017 success? Are we destined for yet another Cavaliers Warriors finals rematch? Who will win NBA MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, 6th Man of the Year, or Coach of the Year? Will Lonzo Ball be able to shake the media hype, bring the Lakers back to greatness, and contend for Rookie of the Year? These are just some questions that I have zero answers for and weak speculation at best. But do you know who has educated analysis and predictions? NBA experts! NBA podcasts have risen in popularity during the past few seasons, but what’s the best NBA podcast?
Though “best” is entirely subjective. What you like in a basketball podcast might not be what I like. However, I have compiled a list of my favorite, and what I’ll deem as the best NBA podcasts out there.
1. Lowe Post
Apart from being just an excellent pun name for a basketball podcast, The Lowe Post, stars one of the best NBA analysts out there, Zach Lowe. Lowe, if I recall correctly, started writing about the NBA using game clips to compliment his analysis since he wasn’t notable enough to earn press credentials. Things changed once he rose to prominence under Bill Simmon’s Grantland and quickly became one of the best minds and most articulate of basketball analysts, still using clips in his writing to support his thoughts. After the collapse of Grantland, only a handful of employees stuck around with ESPN with Lowe being one of the most notable.
With ESPN’s muscle behind him, Lowe is able to basically get the creme de la creme for guests. Along with the NBA analysts you know, Jeff Van Gundy, Doris Burke, Brian Windhorst, etc., he also nabs people in the game such as Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, Memphis Grizzlies star Mike Conley, and Lakers coach Luke Walton.
2. The Ringer NBA Show
After the aforementioned Grantland shuttered, Bill Simmons created The Ringer, which along with digital written content, has created a fairly robust podcast network covering everything from Game of Thrones, to politics, to pop culture, and of course, there’s an NBA podcast.
The Ringer NBA Show, as it’s so obviously named, is typically hosted by Chris Vernon (sometimes guest hosted by Kevin O’Connor, Bill Simmons, or other people). Vernon was previously a radio personality for ESPN stationed in Memphis covering the Grizzlies. Though he’s not as niche as only focusing the Grizz anymore, he still takes his beat writer’esque take on all happenings in the NBA.
3. The Starters
The Starters is to the NBA as The Daily is to news, which is a daily podcast recapping the latest news, trade rumors, scores, buzz, and highlights in the world of basketball. The Starters, hosted by J.E. Skeets and Tas Melas, is one of the few official NBA podcast put out by the league. Because it’s produced by the NBA, some of critiqued it for its lack of true criticism, however, I’ve found their antics and insight to be well worth the lack of takedowns.
4. Sports Illustrated’s Open Floor
Hosted by Andrew Sharp and Ben Golliver, SI’s Open Floor is an in-depth NBA podcast deep diving on the latest storylines, game outcomes, and the league as a whole. They publish the podcast about twice a week and each episode runs between an hour and an hour and 15 minutes.
From my experience, depending on the situation people prefer to lean towards short- or long-form content, with their article choice and podcasts. If you’re the type that enjoys the deep analysis and thoughtful coverage of the NBA and the implications of recent events, definitely check out Open Floor.
5. The Bill Simmons Podcast
The Bill Simmons Podcast is tough to put on this list since it’s not technically an NBA podcast. But it’d also be a disservice to not include it since several of his guests, especially during the season discuss basketball. You might have heard of one of his guests, NBA superstar Kevin Durant, has appeared on three podcasts so far that are widely praised for their casual nature and the candidness of typically-reserved Durant.
Along with Kevin Durant, Steve Kerr, NBA gambler Haralabos Voulgaris, Richard Jefferson, and Jimmy Butler have appeared on recent shows. Plus, even if the guest isn’t connected to the NBA and is just a celebrity in their own right, the topic of basketball typically comes up and it’s refreshing to hear these stars nerd out about basketball just like the rest of us.
6. Dunc’d On Basketball
Nate Duncan is the creator and host of the Dunc’d On Basketball podcast. Duncan comes through with his NBA analysis a little different than the rest of the bunch. He’s very analytical by nature and filters all the latest basketball news from a business perspective. Can this team sign this free agent by maneuvering their cap space? How should they restructure this players extension? How will the salary differ if they draft a player one spot later? How can you fit players on the veteran’s minimum contract together when you’re already maxed out?
Duncan, along with his beat writer guests, also deep dive on specific teams and dedicate podcasts solely to that particular team.
7. The Woj Pod
If you’re a basketball fan and follow the NBA, chances are you know of the infamous Adrian Wojnarowski, the breaker of news. Wojnarowski, or as he’s better know, Woj, is the foremost insider probably of any sport. He has sources, and his sources have sources. His Twitter account is a must follow during the NBA season (which now lasts year round), because all signings and trades are announced through him first. Woj Bombs as they’re better known.
Well, Woj isn’t just a Twitter account, he also has a great podcast. He typically has high profile guests such as GMs, NBA stars, and other analysts. Together they break down the latest news and rumors and speculate on what the future will bring.
8. Jalen and Jacoby
Ex-NBA player and Fab Five member, Jalen Rose, hosts a podcast and radio segment with David Jacoby — yet another person on this list who can trace their roots back to Bill Simmons. Together, they “give the people what they want” combing pop culture and basketball news.
Jalen’s insider insights, combined with Jacoby’s charismatic personality are a great tandem that makes this a fun (and funny) daily podcast.
9. The Hoop Collective
The Hoop Collective is another ESPN produced podcast that kind of crowdsources their material among their slew of NBA analysts including Jorge Sedano, Amin Elhassan, Israel Gutierrez, Rachel Nichols, Brian Windhorst, Marc Spears, Kevin Arnovitz, and Kevin Pelton.
This nearly daily podcast covers exactly what you’d expect with a basketball podcast — latest news, highlights, game recaps, rumors, and more. But it also has high profile guests to give their commentary as well. The latest episode has Clippers coach Doc Rivers and together he and Kevin Arnovitz discuss the impact of Chris Paul leaving and joining the Rockets.
10. The Jump
The Jump is the final podcast on this list, but don’t discount it. One of my favorite NBA personalities, Rachel Nichols, hosts this podcast with a revolving door of quality guests. An insider in her own right, Nichols draws unique and insightful NBA guests like Tracy McGrady, Paul Pierce, Scottie Pippen, Dwyane Wade, and several others.
Nichols also often co-hosts with other ESPN NBA analysts featured in the above sections like Brian Windhorst, Israel Gutierrez, Ramona Shelburne, and Marc Spears.