On Drafting for Skill and Trading for Size

Kyle Dubas had the following quote in Elliotte Friedman’s great 30 thoughts columns this week:

“Here’s the way I look at it,” he said. “Right now, we aren’t good enough to be picky about smaller players. We need as many elite players as we can. If we get into playoffs and are too small, or overwhelmed, it’s easier to trade small for size than draft for size and trade for skill.” (bolding my own)

The quote struck me as interesting because it takes a fundamentally different angle on the size debate than the one I personally ascribe to, and I wonder whether it is simply a matter of semantics, or whether there is actually more to this.

My sense was always that size is not easier to trade for than skill – assuming we mean top 6 size and not grinder size – but that the reason you want to draft for skill was simply that skill players have a higher success rate than big players who don’t score as much. You prefer guys who can score over guys with size because once you accumulate enough of them, you can overpay for the big players that have succeeded, and not bear the risk that they may be busts.

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