When the Milwaukee Bucks cut Brian Skinner from their roster a little over a month ago, they were a different team. A healthier team. A team looking at a number of potential contributors at both power forward and center, led by Andrew Bogut but boasting a number of capable bigs to put behind and alongside him. Milwaukee spent the summer bolstering their depth, and Skinner was deemed to be a bit redundant.
Now a player like Skinner, or anyone capable of logging decent minutes at center for that matter, seems like a nice insurance policy to have. Milwaukee is aching for some insurance in the middle. Bogut continues to miss games with a tweaked back, and though Drew Gooden recently returned from a two-game absence, he’s battling the lingeringest of lingering injuries: plantar fasciitis. Both Bogut and Gooden are likely to nurse those same wounds all year long, making the addition of another big almost a necessity.
That’s bad news for second round pick Darington Hobson. According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld, the Bucks have waived Hobson (who was already projected to miss the entire season due to an unfortunate hip surgery) in order to clear out a roster spot. The move should come at minimal cost to the Bucks, as Hobson’s contract for the year wasn’t fully guaranteed. Kennedy’s source indicates that the resulting roster opening will likely be used to sign Skinner, who was one of the final cuts from the Bucks’ training camp.
Milwaukee could probably find a better big man than Skinner if they took a good look around, but he clearly did something to win over Bucks coach Scott Skiles in camp. What can I say? Milwaukee needs bigs to fill in minutes whenever necessary, and they’re going to go with what they know. Skinner, despite his lack of notable size or particular strength to his game, managed to get his foot in the door prior to the season, and now it’s likely to pay off for him. He doesn’t provide much help inside, but at this point the Bucks need bodies. Larry Sanders and Jon Brockman aren’t capable of keeping the Bucks’ defense steady for an entire game, and if nothing else, the addition of Skinner can at least get the other big men a bit more rest. Skinner doesn’t solve anything, but I suppose he doesn’t hurt, either.
Nikola Mirotic will be out 4-6 weeks due to his concussion and fractured jaw.
Bobby Portis has been suspended for the first eight games of the season for causing those injuries to Mirotic with a punch at practice.
What does this mean for a Bulls locker room that was already going to have to deal with the weight of losing a lot of games. I get into all these questions in this latest PBT Extra.
It’s going to be a long season in Chicago.
Wednesday night in Boston Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair his dislocated ankle and fractured tibia suffered just five minutes into the season-opening game, a gruesome injury that put a pall over the rest of the night.
There had been hope from some Celtics fans that Hayward could return this season, likely for the playoffs, but now that the surgery is complete Hayward’s agent told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN not to expect him back until next season.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the injury. Hayward is in the first year of a four-year deal with the Celtics, they were always going to choose a cautious path rather than rush him back. Under Danny Ainge Boston has always taken the long view, even with all their moves this summer — specifically bringing in Hayward and Kyrie Irving — the target was to be the team set up for next as LeBron James and the Cavaliers faded. That plan does not change now.
Earlier in the day, Hayward had sent a video message out to Celtics fans thanking them for their support in the past 24 hours.
Without Hayward, the Celtics now will focus more on smaller lineups, rookie Jayson Tatum will get more run, as will Marcus Smart in his contract year. Jaylen Brown will be thrust into a more significant role. Also, Kyrie Irving will be asked to do more as the team’s second-best playmaker is now out for the season.
The Celtics will take a step back this season without Hayward, who was going to be crucial for them on both ends of the floor. That’s evidenced by their 0-2 start, falling to the Cavaliers and Bucks on the first couple nights of the season. Boston should still be a team well above .500 and in the playoffs, but they will not be quite the same this season.
Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.
More than fine.
Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.
Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):
The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.
Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.
Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.