Andrew Yang vs. Ted Cruz: Scouting reports for potential one-on-one basketball game

U.S. presidential candidate Andrew Yang continues to display his basketball savvy on social media in preparation for a potential game against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

Yang was recorded shooting hoops in Houston prior to a Democratic Party debate on Sept. 12. After being urged by Fox News producer Pat Ward to challenge Cruz, R-Texas, the two men appear to have come to an agreement to play Friday.

With the one-on-one matchup looming, let’s take a look at the respective scouting reports for these political players:

Andrew Yang

Yang on Wednesday tweeted a highlight reel from a recent pickup game.

His opening highlight is the least impressive of the three-tweet thread. He crosses over from his right hand to his left and backs down his defender in the post before using an awkward drop-step move that results in a made bucket. Two points is two points, but from an aesthetic perspective, this wasn’t ideal.

It gets better, though. Yang clearly displays competency on the court and has some quickness and decisiveness in his game.

In the second clip, he again drives to the block while using a series of crossovers. He posts up his defender, fakes to the right and then finishes with a turnaround off the glass from the block. This looked pretty effortless.

The final clip is an exclusive look at his jump shot. Again, he converts the attempt, though there are legitimate concerns over his form. 

Yang snags a pass near the free throw line, immediately turns to the basket and lets it fly. He has a quick release and gets the ball out well above his forehead, both of which are positive signs.

The negative here is Yang’s follow-through, which is completely nonexistent. It appears Yang might be shooting with both hands as well, as his arms are almost parallel throughout the attempt. Based on form alone, one can assume Yang’s shot might be inconsistent, though it has potential.

Ted Cruz

There is far more film on Cruz thanks to his one-on-one matchup with talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel in June 2018. 

In a game otherwise known as the “Blobfish Basketball Classic,” Cruz defeated Kimmel 11-9. Cruz challenged Kimmel to a game after Kimmel said Cruz looked like a “blobfish” at a Rockets playoff game. Proceeds from the matchup went to Texas Children’s Hospital.

Stamina is Cruz’s key liability. Not even a few buckets into the game, Cruz was bent over with his hands on his thighs and was already breathing through his mouth. By the end of the game, Cruz was in a dead sweat and simply looked more relieved that the game had gone final rather than the fact that he had won. I’m confident this game couldn’t have gone to 21 based on fatigue alone. 

Cruz’s calling card is offense, where he, too, thrives on drives to the basket and the occasional jumper. He managed to hit a handful of buckets from at least five feet out against Kimmel. 

His defense leaves a lot to be desired, though. Here, he struggles to contest attempts down low by Kimmel and is unable to secure a defensive rebound. 

Prediction

Yang, 44, seems to have the slight edge. He is more energetic and appears to be in better shape than the 48-year-old Cruz, who might wear out as the game progresses. If Cruz establishes his presence in the paint early, though, things could get interesting.

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