But in general, you donít trade a 1st for a 1/2-year rental reserve, which is what Poeltl is to the Celtics. Some other team who needs a starter might be more interested, although Iím not sure what team that would be.
Yes, exactly. And, of course, Herr Poeltl has something to say about this, and he's likely to want a bigger role than the third big.
Third big? You think Poeltl is better than Grant Williams? Maybe it ends up being kind of a 3A and a 3B. My prediction would be that Grant would play more minutes than Poeltl if we had them both on the current team. Just an opinion though.
No, Poeltl is not better, but Grant is not a big.
"Swing" is probably the best term for him; if you look at his game, it's not a rim-protecting, rebounding role that he plays.
Yeah, I know there are opinions on this but Grant only plays the PF or C position for the Celtics. I looked at every 3 man combination for the season and there was only 1 (Grant + Horford + Kornet) where Grant played with two other clear bigs, meaning that you could interpret that Grant was playing wing. That line up occurred in 1 game for a total of 1.4 minutes and managed to be -7 in that 1.4 minutes. In all other cases, Grant was the second big on the floor, asked to in general defend the opposing PF mostly, sometimes the opposing C, but never an opposing wing.
Your assumption is that there are always the same five slots on the floor that are being filled by the players who are actually playing. That was closer to reality eighty years ago, when those pg/sg/sf/pf/c designations first came about; thirty years ago they still made sense.
There has always been a big advantage at the highest levels of the game for players who could create mismatches by using skills that were untypical of one of those five roles; but the rules revolution of a generation ago has amplified and now transformed the whole picture. Five players filling five slots has it backwards in today's game.
From your comment it looks like you think I called Grant a wing; I called him a swing, which is a more modern term for a "stretch 4", though even that is a pretty recent term. Instead of that 1-5 assumption, the reality in today's game is that some teams often play with two centers, to use the old term (like Boston did last year); less remarked on with last year's Celtics was that they were also often playing with two ballhandlers - or that the Schroeder/Smart pairing wasn't working because Schroeder dominated the ball and played like an old-fashioned "point guard".
Actually Grant guards down frequently in the Celtics defense, because they prefer to switch, in many cases, when they get picked, and he winds up on quicker players a lot (one of the many ways that Grant is better than Poeltl, btw). You rightly point out that he can guard up as well, leading to the short-lived nickname of Batman for the job he did on the Joker last year. But that doesn't make him a big, anymore than he's a small forward on the rare occasions when he plays with two bigs. And Brad played Grant a lot (even in his rookie year) with no bigs on the floor, to draw a rim-protector away from the lane when Boston was in the bonus in the fourth quarter - but that didn't make him a big.
You are right that Grant does not protect the rim and he is not a great rebounder but wings create their own shots, handle the ball when needed, defend other wings, and he doesn't do any of that either.
Actually it's quite common for wings to not create their own shots; the "3 and D" wing is not at all rare in the NBA. As for handling the ball, Grant has been attacking closeouts and dribbling into the lane a fair amount this season, clearly with the support of the coaching staff. As I mentioned, one of his great strengths is his versatility, his ability to switch on to smaller or bigger players.
But again, I didn't say that Grant is a wing.
Very similar to PJ Tucker who is also an undersized PF.
What's the deal with that guy? He takes one shot per 9 1/4 minutes that he's on the floor! But what I'd quibble with is your assumption that there's some sort of normative PF size that players who fill that slot ought to conform to. The fact that PJ, like Grant, is capable of successfully guarding larger players leaves me thinking that those old norms just don't apply. We've got it backwards, as I say. A coach isn't filling slots.