Serbian slenderman Aleksej Pokusevski may have been the most polarizing prospect in this recent NBA draft. There was some chatter that he may crack the top 10, but he ended up falling to # 17 and wound up with the rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder.
By and large, the primary concern with Pokusevski was his frame. He's listed at 7'0" and 190 pounds (!). He doesn't look like a typical NBA player; he looks like two kids wearing a trenchcoat. Because of that, there's a natural concern and takeaway that Pokusevski won't be able to handle the NBA because he won't be able to bang with the big bodies down low.
However, that ignores an important fact: Pokusevski is not meant to bang with the big bodies down low. He's not a "big" in the traditional sense. He's not a real center. He's more perimeter-oriented, as a playmaker and shooter. If he was 6'6" or 6'7", he'd be an ordinary SG-SF wing. His skill set wouldn't be terribly different. But because he's grown to 7'0", we have a tendency to look at him a different way.
But we shouldn't. Pokusevski is basically a wing player. A very, very tall wing. A pterodactyl.
Pokusevski may be unique in that way, but he's not a one-off. We're seeing more and more of this variety of player, a trend that will only continue on. Kevin Durant has the skill set of a small forward, but he's nearly 7'0" (whether he wants to admit it or not.) Coming down the pike we have more super-sized super-prospects like Emoni Bates (6'9") and Patrick Baldwin (6'10"). Eventually, enormous wing players may become the new prototype.
How do these pterodactyls differ from "unicorns" like Kristaps Porzingis? Again, they're more of true wings than "stretch bigs." Big men like Joel Embiid and Myles Turner may be able to stretch their shooting range to 3, but no one's asking them to guard around the perimeter. We don't see Aron Baynes defending DeMar DeRozan. Those guys are skilled BIGS (emphasis on big.) In contrast, Pokusevski and other pterodactyls are stretched out wings. They don't necessarily have to be "stretch fours" either -- theirs is the skill set of traditional SGs or SFs, only in extended form.
Just something I'd like to get off my chest