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The Celtics' road to the championship, what it means to be "the guy" in basketball, the Oilers' one-track mind, and a Shohei Ohtani thought

Monday 5/20/24

Both of the NBA road teams in the Timberwolves and Pacers won their Game 7's yesterday. I feel like the Celtics could not have an easier road to a championship, though I can also see them losing to Kyrie Irving because Tatum and Brown want to make him happy.

Tatum makes these comments where it's plain he feel like he hasn't won awards that he had coming to him and I honestly don't know what he thinks he should have won.

What I would say about Tatum is this: He can be the best player on a team, but he's not the guy. That doesn't mean every team has a guy. Most teams don't. The guy is Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird, Steph Curry. The guy.

The guy is more than a player on the court. He's a potentially transcendent figure. There is something more than the game that is part of his game and makes it as special as it is. It's not just about hitting shots. You can win without "the guy." Jayson Tatum will never be the guy. But he can be the best player on a Celtics team that wins a championship or two.

I watched some of the Oilers-Canucks game the other night. The Oilers are all about one thing: Speed. That's how they attack, how they try and do everything--with utmost speed--and how they win. Connor McDavid clearly has something wrong with a wrist or hand. He's very reluctant to shoot. This player is diminished and he's still pacing for more than 40 playoff points. So is his teammate in Draisaitl.

It will upset people to say this, but considering how well Shohei Ohtani is hitting this year, might it not be a bad idea to give up pitching? I'm not saying just be a DH. Can he field? He strikes me as too athletic to be just a DH from here on out, even if he couldn't pitch. I think the value he gives a team with the hitting and pitching thing is more a value of novelty and narrative than payout value, in part because the starting pitching position isn't very important anymore, which pains me to say, but it's true.

What are five innings per start and 12 wins a year from a starting pitcher really going to do for you? Even the best now give pedestrian value. This guy's offense, though, is getting better. Small sample size, sure, and his OPS+ last year was 184, but he could win the Triple Crown this year. I'd be open to the possibility if I were the Dodgers. Nothing needs to be decided now. Or maybe another year or two of pitching, then just hitting. I think he's more valuable this year so far just hitting than he was last year pitching and hitting.


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