FanPost

Has the NBA gone beyond positions?

Hello CH. This is my first (and maybe last) post. Please go easy on me. I'm not an advanced stats guy, an expert, a good writer, nor (hopefully not) a blowhard. I am a fan of basketball and am interested in discussing the (de)evolution of the pro game and how does this affect our strategy moving forward. I have heard Ronzone suggest on a few occasions that the NBA is moving beyond the traditional 1-5 positions. My goal isn't too contradict Ronzone, but to question does this appear to be true

Historically the 5 was a big part of the game. Names like Russell, Chamberlain, Abdul-Jabbar, Olajuwon, and O'Neil come to mind when thinking of the center position. Since Shaq, there has been a dearth of quality players at the 5. This is not to say that there have not  been any decent to good centers since 1992, but clearly this position has suffered most as the game has gone from fundamentals (Robert Parish) to "tantalizing" athleticism (Hasheem Thabeet). Although some teams will put a 4 at 5 (Stoudemire), most rosters still stock a variation of Darko, Collins, or Voskuhl. If the league is going "beyond positions", why would roster space be taken by these types of players? Why are guys like Cole Aldrich or Spencer Hawes still being taken in the first round?

The 2 is another position of interest. There has been an ongoing attempt to "lengthen" this position. While Kobe at 6'6" has been more than successful, there have been the Penny Hardaway's and Morris Peterson's who, while good to decent players, were not the "matchup nightmares" they were supposed to be (It appears that our own Wes may  be headed into this territory, but one never knows with absolute certainty). There are still plenty of 6'3" to 6'5" 2's out there that I would take any day that would improve our team (James Harden) despite not offering additional "length".

There also are the "tweener's" and "combo guards" that have certainly changed the idea of positions. KG (listed at 6'11" but probably over 7') playing 3 and Chuck Barkley (listed at 6'6" but not quite 6"5") playing 4 are good examples. While they are not the typical metrics for their positions, they still did not make the game "beyond position", did they? 

My point is that in the end, most teams still employ the 1-5 strategy. Ronzone may say things, but he is a very smart person and is not going to field a 5x4 (you know, 5 pf on the floor) strategy that some worry about if we take Williams. How in the world could we get away with a line up of Love, Beaseley, Williams, Tolliver, and Randolph on the floor without these guys tripping over each others feet?

So where do we go moving forward? Since Ronzone, Kahn, our misfit players, and our organization is (and always has been) a little unorthodox, why not take a 5 who is 6'8" with a 7'6" wingspan and 9'4" standing reach? Is he worth taking second? Hell no! We should move our ass(ets) down to a situation that is both appealing and improves our team. To me, the most immediately beneficial scenario would be draft Williams at 2, wait and see if BB falls to Golden State, and offer some combination of Williams plus Martell, Pek, Luke or Flynn, and whatever other scrapps (Lazar "who?" Hayward or Wayne "Hollywood Robinson 2.0" Ellington) for Ellis and BB. Yes, Ellis isn't everything we want in a 2 defensively. He is a proven scorer that is a big upgrade over what we have however. I think this lineup would prevent the Clippers from a top 10 pick:

5- BB, Randolph, Darko

4- Love, Tolliver, Beas

3- Beas, Wes, whoever

2-Ellis, Wes, whoever (I would like to see Battier as this 2/3 whoever)

1- Ricky, Luke/Flynn, whoever

I also think a Milwaukee/ Bogut or Phoenix/ Gortat deal could be appealing and beneficial too. We are the Wolves though, and who knows how this will all shake out. It's an exciting time, and I hope that excitement sustains from a good trade and draft. I hope we don't get cute and trade down to take someone like Jimmer. He is equal parts water, vinegar, and artificial fragrance. Do you know what that makes him? A douche bag.

Rock on, CH.

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