Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Suns Sign Skinner

The Phoenix Suns have signed former Milwaukee Bucks forward Brian Skinner.
Skinner, who started 44 games for the Bucks last season, is OK with the part-time role and had the Suns atop his wish list because he wanted to play for a title contender.

"This is an opportunity to be on the inside looking out," Skinner said last week.
Just Another Bucks Fan notes that Skinner’s unguaranteed $1.1 million contract with the Suns is less than what he could have gotten from the Bucks.

Skinner sounds excited to play in Phoenix and the Bucks got a comparable replacement in Voskuhl at a lower price so this may have benefitted both parties ultimately.

With the loss of Skinner, the Bucks will now have at least five different players from last year’s 12-man opening-night roster that propelled them to a teasing win over the Detroit Pistons. The recently departed Lynn Greer played an important role eventually but was not on the 12-man roster to start the season.

In gauging whether the Bucks have really improved, we should consider the roster changes.
  • Projecting this year’s team, the seven likely returnees from last year’s opening night squad are Michael Redd, Andrew Bogut, Charlie Villanueva, Mo Williams, Charlie Bell, Dan Gadzuric, and David Noel.
  • Gone are Ruben Patterson, Ersan Ilyasova, Steve Blake, Damir Markota, and Skinner.
  • Replacing them (again, projected) are Bobby Simmons, Desmond Mason, Yi Jianlian, Jake Voskuhl, and Royal Ivey.
A glance is all that’s necessary to see that the Bucks are in a lot better shape entering this season. Ivey/Voskuhl and Blake/Skinner is pretty close to a wash, but the new Bucks come out clearly ahead with Simmons/Mason/Jianlian versus Patterson/Ilyasova/Markota. That’s of course a subjective claim but one that wouldn’t be argued by many.

Most of the aforementioned returners are likely to improve as well. Bogut, Villanueva, Williams, and Noel are some of the young Bucks who are almost certain to improve. Repeat performances from Redd and Bell would do nicely. It’s difficult to predict Gadzuric’s progression after a disappointing year last season.

Despite the rock-solid reasons for optimism, what remains to be seen is how much the Bucks improve. Ten more wins after all won’t result in a playoff spot.

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