PUT IT ALL ON THE LINE
Del Olaleye: In a win-or-lose-it-all championship scenario, who do you trust more -- Ken Giles or James Harden?
Who do you trust? It a simple question with no simple answer. I’m not trying to be existential. I talk about sports for living. My capacity for higher thinking is limited to Netflix and naps. Fandom is based on belief. If your favorite team broke your belief why would you even watch? The Astros provided people reasons to believe time after time in the 2017 season. That belief was solidified with a World Series win. I think most people trust the Astros to come through. One central figure in their title run failed enough on the field to erode any trust fans may have had in him. Not just the fans by the way. His manager stopped believing in him as well. We’ll get to him later.
The Rockets have done everything in their power to wipe away the end of the 16-17 season. They set a franchise record in wins well before the season was over. The acquisitions of P.J. Tucker, Chris Paul and Luc Mbah a Moute have brought a defensive focus that was absent in the past. They have the soon to be crowned MVP and a possible coach of year candidate. But do you trust them? Specifically, do you trust their most important piece?
The question of trust prompted me to create a high pressure hypothetical and go around the office and ask for a gut reaction and answer. Remember when I wrote one hundred words ago or so “We’ll get to him later”? Well now is later. The man who’s postseason performance eroded the trust placed in him is Ken Giles. He’s been a topic of conversation throughout the Astros hot start. He’s not the only one to create trust issues by failing in the postseason. One player who has a chance to gain some trust back is James Harden. For this scenario we’ll call him “Elimination James.” He earned that nickname with a string of bad performances in series clinching exits.
Ken Giles is facing Bryce Harper in Game 7 of the World Series in Washington. It is the bottom of the ninth and the bases are loaded with two outs. The Astros lead 5-4. An out and the Astros win the World Series. If Harper gets a hit, the Nationals win.
The Rockets trail the Cavs by one in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. It is Rockets ball with 15 seconds to go. Lebron James tells the world “I’ve got 13.” Elimination James vs Lebron for the NBA title. Harden makes the shot and the Rockets win the title. If he misses, the Cavs win it all.
I created these two hypotheticals and walked around the office and laid them out for my co-workers. I asked one question. Who do you trust to get their job done more?
Raheel Ramzanali - Not Giles
James Weddington - Giles
Michael Carrell - Elimination James
Robert Harris - Elimination James, “he’s a true closer.”
Tyler Frisby - Not Giles
Tyler Scott - Not Giles
Beautiful Andrew - Not Giles
Lance Zierlein - Giles
Jong Lee - Not Giles
Joel Blank - Elimination James
Barry Lamanick - Elimination James
Nick Sharara - Not Giles
Ron Culver - Not Giles
The Sean Salisbury Show? It was Unanimous - Not Giles
Lance and James used probability and math to pick Giles. The math is in Giles’ favorite to get the job done in their opinion. Only Barry, Joel and producer Robert Harris picked Harden to succeed. The majority of the office went with “Not Giles.” They didn’t believe in Harden, they just believed in Giles less.
So who do you trust?