Hyped for hoops season to begin, I'm ready to formulate the first scouting report of the season. So, why not start with the most popular competition occurring in the country?…
...The Presidential Race in a hypothetical 2-on-2.
#23 Barack Obama - 6-2, guard/forward, 47 years old
Basketball Bio: Obama is a straight up baller. His jersey number causes one to recall images of another famous Chicago hoopster. He has been known to play pick-up just about anywhere: Brown U., UNC, with the military, and against Stuart Scott on SportsCenter.
What to Watch for: athletic ability…uses wiry body well…has a knack for slashing…wants to drive hard…prefers going to the left, but can finish to his right…solid mid-range game with hanging lefty pull-ups…very active off the ball…must box him out…will look to get teammate involved…known to have some perimeter touch…may reach and look for steals on D.
#33 Joe Biden - 6-0, forward, 65 years old
Basketball Bio: Not very experienced in hoops, but has a natural capacity to learn without extra substances. (In fact, he helped pass a bill outlawing androstenedione used for performance enhancement).
What to Watch for: team player…he’ll do the dirty work…strong on the boards…will try to convert some lay-ups.
The game plan: The Donkeys will look to utilize the pick-and-roll some of the time, but they will most likely go to a 1 out-1 in set, that puts the ball in Obama’s hands. He’ll look to create off the dribble while Biden establishes position down low. At times, look for the give-and-go with hi-low action.
#99 John McCain - 5-7, guard/power forward, 72 years old
Basketball Bio: No history, but his toughness and experience as a Navy captain and prisoner of war make up for lack of skills. Plus, he has a history in filling out brackets.
What to Watch for: Won’t move that quickly…slow lateral movement…will try to set-up his teammate, but will mostly stay in the paint…tires quickly…attempts to hit the boards...not much of a shot…experience with physical therapy may come in handy.
#22 Sarah Palin - 5-10 point guard, 44 years old
Basketball Bio: Experienced player who was very rugged and resilient in high school. She was nicknamed “Sarah Barracuda” because of her intensity and passion on the court. Understands the game of basketball and other sports (she is a former sportscaster). Known for hitting game winning free throw in state championship game with a stress fracture.
What to Watch for: clutch player and wants to take the winning shot…very strong and aggressive…she is the go-to…good handles…can hit the mid-range shot…wants to come off of picks.
The Game Plan
Offensively, the Donkeys shouldn’t have any trouble scoring, especially if they share the ball. Obama’s knowledge of the game and understanding of his team’s strengths and limitations will help them succeed. He’ll look to involve Biden, but Obama’s activity all over the court will prove to be his team's key. With Obama's first step and Biden’s positioning, they have the capacity to jump out to an early and insurmountable lead.
Defensively, the Donkeys may try to trap the Elephant pick-and-rolls early in order to minimize any good looks at the basket. If McCain can get open, Barracuda may just have enough in her to dump it down for a couple shot opportunities. Time-outs will be critical.
Interestingly, Obama will be guarding Barracuda for much of the game, rather than facing his direct running foe -- but this is a team game. Remember, it wasn’t Michael versus Magic in 1991. Rather, MJ’s running mate, Scottie Pippen, was the one assigned to Johnson.
Biden should be able to wear down McCain quickly, so Barracuda will have to keep her spirits high and her defensive stance low and long.
If Barracuda can keep Obama in front of her when he has the ball, and work some clock on offense, her team will have more of a chance. And if she somehow can get open and nail a couple of shots, the Elephants may gain some confidence and momentum.
Look for Joe Lieberman to provide a special half-time analysis on both teams.