In-between Carmelo Anthony going WWE on Kevin Garnett and the Celtics last night, OKC and San Antonio both falling on the road, and Notre Dame getting knocked out harder than Pacquiao, the Milwaukee Bucks made a coaching move. Scott Skiles and the team parted ways after a little more than four years together, finally cutting the ties of a strained relationship.
Skiles once challenged Shaq to a fight in practice while both were players with the Magic, and ever since then, he’s been known as rugged and gritty. That philosophy continued once he became a head coach in the NBA, and it seems a butting of heads between Skiles and management over how the Bucks should play is the cause of much of the strained relationship.
Skiles fought to keep his defensive principles, but Milwaukee’s brass wanted to improve an offense that was consistently ranked near the bottom of the league in production and excitement. That thinking peaked with the Andrew Bogut–Monta Ellis trade last season, a deal that effectively made the team much smaller, much worse defensively but much more entertaining on the other end. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweeted recently that a close coaching friend of Skiles believed the former point guard “hated” his team.
Skiles never lost this team like he did during stints with Phoenix and Chicago, but the Bucks have still dropped four in a row and are stumbling along as a .500 squad ripe to become a top seed’s first round meal (if they made it to the playoffs at all).
With assistant Jim Boylan assuming the head coaching duties for the rest of the season, it’ll be interesting to see where the Bucks go from here. Will Brandon Jennings and Ellis find common ground? Will Larry Sanders continue his breakout season under a new coach? Will Ersan Ilyasova rediscover how to play basketball?
The Bucks are ninth in the league in defensive efficiency. Without Skiles, I doubt they keep hold of a top-10 rating. It’ll be up to the offense – a unit that relies on two streaky guards – to keep them afloat.
Will the Bucks be better or worse without Skiles?
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