If you’re anything like me, podcasts have become a part of your daily routine. Thankfully, there are a TON of basketball podcasts out there to give us hoops junkies our audio fix. This list is not a ranking (podcasts are presented alphabetically) and is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully it gives you a general idea of what each podcast is about and maybe it adds a podcast or two to your regular rotation.
Host: Bill Simmons; The Ringer
Schedule: Generally once a week (for basketball) but it varies
Most episodes are worth a listen regardless of the topic because Bill has a special mind and has tremendous conversations with some brilliant people (e.g. Malcolm Gladwell, Chuck Klosterman, Haralabob Vulgaris). His NBA podcasts, however, are always a source of excitement for me.
I understand why some dislike Simmons’ homerism, but he was born to be a podcaster. Whether he’s shooting the shit with old friend Joe House, picking the brain of his talented staff at The Ringer, or capitalizing on his network of people in and around the league, there is plenty of insight to be gained and even more entertainment value.
Host: Coach Daniel
Schedule: Once every 3 – 4 weeks
I know nothing about Coach Daniel other than the fact that he is very smart when it comes to basketball. His YouTube channel is an invaluable resource for breaking down film, so I was excited to discover he had a podcast. The episodes are infrequent, but they dive deep into NBA strategy. As someone who loves learning about the ins and outs of NBA basketball, this podcast is a joy to listen to. My only complaint is that there aren’t more episodes!
Hosts: Nate Duncan and Danny Leroux
Schedule: Basically every day
My only gripe about this podcast is actually a compliment: I can’t listen to this podcast at work because I miss a lot of the details—and details are why you should tune in. The vision for this podcast is clear: be the most in-depth basketball podcast around. Nate and Danny have unquestionably achieved that goal.
They recap games, as well as a “15 teams in 60ish minutes” breakdown of the East or West throughout the season. These two go deep on every aspect of the NBA, and though they have a soft spot for the CBA, the on-court basketball analysis is incredible. I don’t know how they find the time, but they produce a mountain of content and it’s all brilliant.
Unique to the Dunc’d On podcast are the mock free agency or mock trade deadline previews. With multiple guests acting as the teams and/or agents, these episodes give you an unparalleled (and fun!) preview of what to expect. I can’t recommend this podcast enough because you will undoubtedly get smarter about the game.
Host: Sam Vecenie
Schedule: 2-3 times per week
If you like college basketball, go and subscribe to this podcast right now. I personally don’t care for college basketball other than its draft implications. Consequently, I don’t listen to every episode, but I REALLY respect Vecenie’s opinions on prospects (as much as any other draftnik around). He’ll also mix in episodes discussing the NBA which are always a must-listen for me.
Host: Mo Dakhil
Schedule: Once a week
Mo Dakhil is a former NBA video coordinator and has experience working in basketball at the college and pro levels (including time with the Spurs and Clippers). As such, he brings a very detailed and nuanced perspective to the table in his conversations with a long list of high-quality guests (some past guests include Sam Vecenie, Ian Levy, Mike Prada, Jared Dubin and Nate Duncan).
Hosts: Mike Prada and Ben Epstein; SB Nation
Schedule: Once a week
Mike Prada and Ben Epstein host this podcast and they normally have an SB Nation writer or two make guest appearances. Prada is one of the smarter basketball minds around (check out Prada’s Pictures some time) and Ben is a legitimately good host (which adds a lot when guests are involved). With a huge stable of SB Nation writers at their disposal, they can go deep on specific teams when necessary, but they’re equally great at covering the league as a whole.
Host: David Locke
Schedule: Roughly once a week
The success of David Locke’s NBA podcast has spawned an entire network of team-specific podcasts (see below), but his league-wide podcast is the flagship and it’s worth your time. He has done great episodes with writers like John Schuhmann (NBA.com) and Chris Ballard (SI), but there are two types of podcasts that are unique to Locked On NBA.
- He has anonymous coaches and scouts on the show to share their opinions on the latest trends and specific teams or players.
- He has frequent episodes with Kevin Pelton where they just shoot the shit about the league as a whole and bounce ideas off each other.
Both of these types of episodes are absolute gold.
The Locked On network is HUGE with 30 team-specific podcasts that release ~5 episodes per week. If you’re a fan of a team, checked out its Locked On podcast. Even if you’re a general NBA fan like me, the Locked On Team podcasts are a useful way to check in on some of the latest developments and I often listen to a few episodes if I’m working on a team-specific article. These hosts know their teams very well and can provide insight that you may not hear with the national writers/podcasts.
Host: Josh Lloyd; Basketball Monster
Schedule: Basically daily
As you can tell from the name, this is part of the vast Locked On Network, but it deserves some extra shine in my opinion. Firstly, it’s a fantasy basketball podcast, so it falls into its own category. More importantly, Josh is very smart about the league as a whole and—because of his fantasy focus—he provides a different perspective on things like rotation patterns, minutes, positional trends, etc.
If you’re a fantasy hoops player, DEFINITELY give this a listen. Even if you’re not, checking in on this pod throughout the season is an effective way to keep tabs on the league as a whole.
Host: Zach Lowe; ESPN
Schedule: Once a week (usually)
The big-picture thinking that has made Zach Lowe a must-read translates to the podcast studio. He always gets tremendous guests and covers a broad spectrum of topics ranging from detailed in-game analysis to league-wide trends. He gives his guests plenty of room to digress and the result is a free-flowing conversation that never fails to make you a smarter NBA fan.
Host: Kevin Ferrigan
Schedule: Varied (on average once every 2-3 weeks)
There haven’t been many episodes, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Nylon Calculus’ contribution to the podcast world. Kevin Ferrigan does a fantastic job hosting a show about complicated subject matter, making sure to explain some of the statistical theories and lingo in a digestible manner. The episodes feature Kevin hosting a Nylon Calculus writer, and together they dive into some of that writer’s most interesting research. This podcast is a way for the writers to dive a little deeper into their thought process and discuss the game from an analytical perspective.
Host: Dave DuFour
Schedule: Once a week
Dave contributes to BBALLBREAKDOWN.com, and it’s easy to tell he’s a coach when you listen to his podcast. There isn’t a strict format to these episodes; Dave just brings on a guest to talk about whatever topic interests him at the moment.
Sometimes that’s a team on a hot streak (like his deep dive on the then-streaking Utah Jazz earlier in the season). Other times it’s a more general look at NBA strategy (like his conversation with Mo Dakhil on the evolution of defense).
If you want to learn about the NBA through the lens of coaching and strategy, this podcast is definitely worth a listen.
Hosts: Andrew Sharp and Ben Golliver; Sports Illustrated
Schedule: Tuesdays and Fridays
There have been a few guest appearances by other SI writers (e.g. Jeremy Woo, Rob Mahoney, Lee Jenkins), but Sharp and Golliver are the regular voices behind Open Floor. They’re both very knowledgeable and funny, and they have enough distinctive opinions to make this podcast one I always look forward to. They also disagree quite a bit which means you’re usually getting both sides of the argument and their dynamic provides some comedic value.
Host: Danny Leroux
Schedule: Generally once a week
Danny Leroux’s podcast has a distinctly different feel than Dunc’d On. He maintains the same level of thoroughness, but Danny uses RealGM Radio for deeper dives on a certain team or topic. Near the end of the offseason, he’ll have divisional previews covering every team, and he’ll have interesting guests on throughout the year to discuss the latest trends. I always listen to these episodes multiple times because they are not time-sensitive and there are so many thought-provoking tidbits that I miss the first time.
Host: The Ringer
Schedule: Usually four times a week
The NBA staff at The Ringer is predictably awesome, so this podcast is a great way to hear from the range of personalities working there. This is really four different podcasts under one name, but each one has a slightly different feel:
- ‘Heat Check’: Juliet Litman and John Gonzalez talk about the latest topics dominating the NBA news cycle
- ‘Sources Say’: Juliet Litman and Chris Ryan focus on some of the less mainstream topics related to NBA media coverage
- ‘The Ringer NBA Show’: Chris Vernon and Kevin O’Connor discuss KOC’s recent articles and the hot topics du jour.
- ‘Group Chat’: Chris Ryan, Haley O’Shaughnessy, Justin Verrier and Danny Chau nerd out on the league and focus on some of the things diehards care about (like Mario Hezonja).
Hosts: J.E. Skeets, Tas Melas, Leigh Ellis, Trey Kerby, Matt Osten, JD; NBA TV
Schedule: The Twitter Show (Tuesday) & The Drop (Friday)
Full disclosure: I can’t be objective about this group. I’ve been listening to Skeets and Tas since The Basketball Jones days, and I love these dudes.
Podcast-wise, I’m focusing on the Twitter Show and The Drop, both of which are over an hour long. Audio versions of their daily 30-min TV show can also be downloaded in podcast form, but you may as well watch them on NBA TV or YouTube as you’re missing a lot without seeing the clips/graphics/silliness. The longer podcasts give the guys enough time to dig deeper into the week’s most interesting topics, but the main draw for me is the entertainment value. These guys are fans first, and the rapport between the group is brilliant.
Also not to be overlooked: this podcast has the highest production quality and most creativity of any NBA podcast in the game (kudos to Matty O and The Disinterested Man behind the curtain, JD).
Host: Zach Harper
Schedule: 2-3 times a week
Zach Harper (@talkhoops on Twitter) is back in the podcast game! I used to thoroughly enjoy the CBS Sports Eye on Basketball podcast when he hosted it, and he brings the same basketball knowledge, sense of humor, bizarre movie references, unnecessary puns and inexplicable tangents to the Talk Hoops podcast (part of the new Leverage the Chat network).