Raw WordPress VERSUS themes and plugins (pros and cons)?

can any very experienced wordpress devs (or project managers) please comment on the pros and cons of native raw wordpress VERSUS buying a cheap theme?

I myself have over 30 years coding experience, but over the years the layers do seem to grow and grow, you get further and further from machine code, assembly etc etc and I feel in today’s world a theme (and plugins) is the way to go?

However today I met with a brilliant – 20 year exp guru dev who was very anti, wanting to not use themes and anti most plugins, is he mad and if so why?

His main arguments are they’re bloated, security, inflexible, conflicts and I know form experience all that is true. However I’m looking at using one of the very top WP themes (not yet decided), that have over 10,000 installations and great ratings and reviews.

It would make some difference that we’ve already got 2 very basic sites, using highend theme (over 20K installs), but the dev wants to start afresh.

Obviously cross browser and mobile responsive are key issues and a good theme will take care of that and many security patches far better than native right?

The dev is well aware of the offical wordpress best coding practices and seems super honest, widely experienced and reliable.

Note also we’re not looking to build amazon or ebay or fb, short term the sites will be small and long term medium size and complexity.

Can any gurus out there help guide us?

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