Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Shootyhoops Basketmakers: Wilt Chamberlain

King Kong Ain’t Got Shit on Wilt

The most dominant player in the history of the NBA may be the one interesting thing about basketball’s early years, if for no other reason but the sheer absurdity of his stats.  This is not to say that Wilt Chamberlain is the greatest basketball player of all time: while he is certainly in the conversation for such a meaningless honor, he may not quite be at the level of some of those yet to come.  He was, however, dominant in a way that will never been seen again thanks to his unique nature.  Wilt[1] was one of the first highly skilled seven-footers, able to make plays his fellow monstrosities were too cumbersome to attempt.  His high school career was so storied as to create college basketball.  Before Wilt’s high school graduation, no one had ever considered having sports teams at a college competing with other colleges.  Wilt was such a talent that many schools realized that having him attend their university and play basketball would probably be good for their reputation.  This is why, upon his graduation in 1955, roughly 100 college basketball programs sprung up around the country. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Shootyhoops Basketmakers: the Era of the Celtics

The Era of the Celtics or: Terrifying Basketball Robots Take Over
In the mid-50s, a man named Red Auerbach came to power.  Red was a simple man.  He had grown up the son of a dry cleaner and so had undergone the usual bullying that accompanies one’s father being a piece of laundry equipment.  However, that very connection to the mechanical shaped Red into the basketball mastermind he would one day become.  After adopting the last name “Auerbach” after sneezing loudly while in line at the DMV, Red joined the Navy and began coaching the academy’s basketball team.  Red loved the military efficiency that his team played with but couldn’t help but noticing how all those intricacies of being human got in the way.  Players would miss games for family emergencies or because they had been run over by a train.  Sometimes the point guard would relay the wrong play or make a poor decision.  To err is to be human, and Red Auerbach would have none of that.
Pictured: Red Auerbach
For you see, Red wanted one thing: to win.  He had the heart of a champion.  And with that heart, which he had torn from the chest of Joe Louis in 1938 and kept on display on his mantle, Red knew he had what it took to dominate the NBA.  For you see, the NBA had the same problems that Red was having with his Navy teams: everyone playing the game was entirely too human.  Red drew on his childhood roots to fix this problem.  In 1946, when Red was hired to coach the Washington Capitols of the BAA, he began work on his robot army.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Shootyhoops Basketmakers: George Mikan and the Era of Who Gives a Shit

A devout Catholic, George Mikan ended up as one of the first superstars of basketball.  Mikan did things that his predecessors had never imagined, and that his descendants would imagine and do in way better, more entertaining ways.  Mikan came to basketball during an era where nothing about it was fun, due in large part to everyone being too stupid to realize that tall people could dunk and that African-Americans should probably be allowed a part in all this.  He averaged 23 points a game in his career, which is all the more impressive when you consider he had a worse field goal percentage than Jamal Crawford.  As a general rule of thumb, anyone with a worse field goal percentage than Jamal Crawford is not worth your time and should be ignored.

Astute readers may notice around this time that there is a vast swath of time that has been skipped between Dr. Basketball’s invention of the sport and George Mikan’s professional debut in 1948.  If these smarmy, holier-than-thou readers would take a second to look at the history of basketball in that time, they will find that oh God is it ever awful.  Really, all of basketball before the 1960s was a colossal waste of time in terms of enjoyment even if it did keep the vampires at bay.  To get a good idea of how much fun basketball was during that time period, please read The Great Gatsby, a research paper by high school student Steven “Willy” Williamson on The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  When you have finished it, read it again and continue doing so until you have read it at least 15 times without breaks.  This is how exciting basketball was.
Wake up, we're almost done here.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

In Praise of Zach Scott

Zach Scott is basically the living embodiment of grit. He is the David Eckstein of the MLS. The guy routinely out works and stops opposing attackers with much more skill and athleticism. He does this with a combination of hard work, dirty play, and tenacity. Like I said grit.

Scott is one of the few players to join the MLS squad from the USL version of the Sounders when they upgraded leagues in 2009. Since than he has played for the Sounders in every single one of their MLS seasons. Now 35 years old and an MLS veteran, he is the only guy left from the USL days. He has survived and at times flourished.

Throughout his tenure with the Rave Green the team has routinely tried to replace Scott. Just this year they started the season by moving captain Brad Evans to centerback, a position Evans had never played professionally. After that experiment failed the Sounders returned Scott to the starting eleven. Later in the season the Sounders snagged Ramon Torres to take over at centerback. Torres last a few games before getting injured and now Scott has regained his position. Scott is a boomerang in the backfield. Whenever the Sounders try to get rid of him he just keeps coming back and I for one am fine with that.

Scott's game is always physical and it can be dirty. He often pulls and pushes opponent. Going up against the Sounders centerback opponent's striker know they are in for a long day full of bumps and bruises. Zach Scott plays right on the edge of getting a card and he does often pass the line and end up with a yellow, but his style is effective. He gets the job done.

As previously mentioned, Scott is the living embodiment of toughness. On the September 19th game against the White Caps the Sounders broadcast team filled us in on this little tidbit, Scott had been playing most of the season with a broken foot.. Yep, you read that right, Zach Scott Seattle Sounders defender has been playing the 2015 Major League Soccer season with a broken foot. During this season he has started 13 games and played in 17 games. That is some freaking toughness coupled with insanely high pain tolerance and possibly unwise medical practice.

A guy like Scott brings something to a team. He sets an example and inspires others to keep fighting. His on the field skills may not be the best, but they get the job done. I for one hope Zach Scott continues to overcome the odds and contribute effectively to the Sounders. A team without his toughness holding it all together just wouldn't be the same.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Shootyhoops Basketmakers 2: The Beginening

In the beginning, there was nothing.  Then several hundred million years passed and we got around to inventing basketball.  Nothing much happened in those years, outside of the dinosaurs being killed off by George Gervin.  Regardless, to truly understand mankind one must start with the invention of basketball.  To start anywhere else would be silly, especially because you are reading a book about basketball.  If you want to start with Beowulf or something, why don’t you go read a book about Beowulf[1]?
A movie about Beowulf.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Seahawks Play Offense: A Preview

The NFL season is upon us, bringing us another season filled to the brim with domestic abuse, backhanded business practices, extortion, severe brain injuries, and TOUCHDOWNS!!!!! ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!?
This man is gainfully employed.

Seahawks 2015: Another Great Defense

The Seahawks regular season is fast approaching. So, it is time to preview the Seahawks new team. I am going to focus on the defense, wihch looks to be a dominate unit once again. They will dictate the Seahawks success, much like they have for the past three years.

This season, the success of the defense has one giant question mark surrounding it; Will Kam Chancellor play or will he continue his hold out in a quest for more money? The defense should be great either way, but with the Chancellor of Pain on the field they have a chance to the best defense of all time.  I am serious about that. Last year's team led the league in fewest yards allowed per game and fewest points allowed per game. Even so, this year's team could be better. Even if Kam doesn't show up they should still be great. The rest of the talent is just to good. This review will assume Chancellor isn't going to play.