Feels like are comparing guys that are all over the map here. Bellinelli is horrible defensively and has a high of 7 points on the season. This is probably his last year in the league.
I listed 4 off the top of my head that were had for the mini-MLE or less.
I disagree, there are no available cheap wings (rooks excluded).
Ah but the difference between Bam and Len and Baynes is also huge. You can get perfectly serviceable wings for the same price you can get Baynes or Len. That was the point I was making. There are plenty of quality wings you can find cheaply. Just like there are plenty of quality bigs you can find cheaply.
Or Garrett Temple. Or Rodney Hood. Or Marco Belinelli. Or Vince Carter at the minimum. Or countless other vet guards that are similar talents to Baynes and Len.
I guess I am on an island in seeing a player like Bam - who can impact the game in so many different ways - as somebody who is as valuable as many of the top young wings across the league. Since we have a surplus of wings, I wouldn't be too disappointed if one of them turned into Bam.
The thing is the difference between a guy like Bam and the caliber of center you can find in the 15-30 range of the draft, or the kind of guy you can get for $5-8 million per year in free agency, is not that huge.
Meanwhile the difference between Jaylen Brown and the type of wing you can get later in the draft, or for a discount price in free agency, is pretty huge.
You've got centers like Aron Baynes and Alex Len making $5 million a year or less.
For that kind of price you get a wing like Reggie Bullock, who currently can't break the rotation for the Knicks.
I guess if we're comparing Bam to Baynes and Len then the conversation can't go much further. I don't know where Jaylen or Bam will go in their respective careers, but we shouldn't assume Jaylen is automatically a cut above Bam. I mean, Bam is even younger than Jaylen and has one less year of NBA experience.
I think you deliberately misunderstood my point.
The idea isn't that Baynes or Len is the same caliber as Bam.
It's that you can pay very little in money or assets and end up with a perfectly serviceable starting center. Bam is better than a serviceable starting center, but he isn't so much better that it would really change the fortunes of your team to swap one for the other.
Whereas the difference between having Garrett Temple or Marco Belinelli versus Jaylen Brown is huge.
It has been so for about 5-6 years.
The wing is a premium position in the NBA as it offers the most of both defensive and offensive versatility.
Yet the blog would drool to get Baynes back. None of those wings are even saliva worthy!
I admire Carter's longevity as much as anyone, but he is averaging 3 points a game and playing 13.5 minutes. He is a mentor, extra coach type for a young team, but very far from a difference maker on the floor. Temple is actually somewhat of a legit rotation player, but again he is only scoring 7 a game, coming off the bench and there is a reason he has played for 9 teams so far in ten seasons. I guess we could make the argument that maybe what Baynes doing is a complete fluke (specifically how much he has extended his range), but given we have seen lopez just do this at a similar age I think it is potentially legit.
Of the guys listed, I would say that Hood is actually in the same ballpark as Baynes as a player and is a very reasonable contributor that a lot of teams could use. I am not sure why he has bounced around the league so much or why he was available for so cheap, it seems like perhaps there have been some character concerns with him (the meltdown he had in the finals probably still follows him around). Are there any other guys that are more like Hood and less like Bellinelli and Carter that were signed as wings?
Interesting discussion. Would need to see a deeper comparison to really see which side is right.
Good post! Agree Hood is good.
But I don't think there's a team in the league that would trade healthy Baynes for healthy Hood.
The reason: While it's true that in today's NBA the center position is valued less, the centers who DO cut the mustard are extremely valuable, if not indispensable. Baynes is one of those NBA centers who currently cuts the mustard and then some. I would argue that Alex Len is not (willing to be wrong on that).
So today's centers are under a microscope...the non-mustard cutting centers might as well be dispensed with and replaced with guys like Grant Williams, Theis (PF), PJ Williams, Marvin Williams, etc....But the mustard cutters, including Baynes, are irreplaceable if a team wants to make it through the post season.
Brad Stevens and his swarm of non-mustard cutters are actually going to put this to the test better than any team in the league at the moment. The C's are probably the best inadequate-center team in the league, and can scare teams like Philly, Utah, Denver and Lakers (AD counted as center), by virtue of great wings, depth and some bigs who in fact play Steven's system just as he wants. Robert Williams advancement could launch the C's into mustard cutting big man territory...but until he does advance..the C's are experimenting with a wild west committee of bigs with Steven's managing the posse.
(the Clippers, by the way, have a mustard cutter in Harrell).
If Baynes could return (and be healthy) I would view the Celtics' as legit contenders. Without him this year, I see them as hopfeful contenders. Not because he's a star...he's not. But because a contender needs a mustard cutting center unless they have Lebron James or Giannis or Leonard...and even guys like that often need one. Here's hoping Steven's can prove me wrong (or Robert Williams surprised us all this year).