As first reported at Hoops World, the Bucks have decided that bigger is indeed better. To beef up their frontline, Milwaukee announced today it was waiving injured 37th overall pick Darington Hobson to open up a roster spot for 34-year-old reserve big man Brian Skinner, marking the former Baylor man's third tour of duty in Milwaukee. The decision comes just a month after the Bucks waived Skinner in favor of keeping Hobson prior to the regular season opener, but circumstances--namely Andrew Bogut's health--have changed since opening night and the Bucks are clearly having second thoughts about their backup big men.
The obvious follow-up question to Skinner's return is whether Bogut's recent back (and/or arm) problem is more serious than the Bucks have let on, but the good news is that Bogut also returned to practice today for the first time in almost two weeks. He's still a doubt for Saturday's home game against Dwight Howard and the Magic, but Charles Gardner reports that Bogut's back and elbow have both benefited from the time off.
The 7-foot center said the rest also could prove a "silver lining" to help his injured right elbow heal. Bogut suffered a fractured right hand and dislocated right elbow in April, an injury which ended his 2009-'10 season.
"It (the elbow) felt the best today since I've started shooting the ball," Bogut said. "I was able to go with no tape or brace."
Encouraging news for sure, though at this point I'll take any news about Bogut's health with a grain of salt. What's not in doubt is Bogut's value to the team, particularly given Larry Sanders' inconsistency and the now-obvious limitations of playing Jon Brockman in the pivot. Don't expect Skinner to be a magic bullet or even a mildly effective bullet--especially on offense--but he's better suited to holding his own on the block against NBA post players than either Brockman (too small and unexplosive) or Sanders (still a bit light and prone to foul trouble). You can probably add Drew Gooden to that list as well, though he's been limited by plantar fasciitis recently and Skiles has been somewhat averse to playing Gooden in the middle when he has been available.
As for Hobson, his time with the Bucks may not be over. Having already undergone corrective surgery on his left hip, he's facing a similar procedure on his right hip that will likely keep him out until next season. And though he'll be an unrestricted free agent even if he clears waivers, both Alex Kennedy at Hoops World and Hobson himself are hinting he could be re-signed by the Bucks over the summer.
Hobson tweeted this afteroon "Don't worry people.. Ill be back ! Its not what u think," which one might interpret as the Bucks telling him they planned to re-sign him (or at least make him an offer) next summer. Having a pre-arranged deal would run afoul of the collective bargaining agreement, so it's perhaps not surprising that Hobson's tweet has since been deleted, though I'm guessing it was meant more innocently than that. It's no secret that the Bucks were hoping to keep him and salvage at least one of their second round picks, otherwise they wouldn't have cut Skinner a month ago when they knew Hobson was going to be out for the year. It also shouldn't shock anyone if Hobson is claimed by a team with a spare roster spot, though the fact that Hobson is only signed for this season means a team claiming him would still need to use their early Bird rights to re-sign him next summer.
Putting a small move in the big picture
While the move is relatively minor, it also raises renewed questions about the Bucks' summer strategy. For one, Hobson's departure means the Bucks have essentially nothing to show for the three second round picks they had going into the draft--just the $1 million that they reportedly got from the Knicks for the rights to Jerome Jordan.
Moreover, the Bucks' present desperation to add a center makes you wonder if it really was worth acquiring Brockman, who has looked miscast as a 6'7" backup center. There's much to like about the second year pro's workman-like style under the boards, but the Bucks were already fairly loaded at PF when they acquired Brockman in a sign-and-trade. So while Brockman might prove his worth eventually, it sure would have been nice having a spare roster spot to re-sign Kurt Thomas or pick up someone like Erick Dampier instead. Hindsight is a beautiful thing, isn't it?