The Milwaukee Bucks have decided to end their four-plus year relationship with head coach Scott Skiles in a move that is surprising and wrong at the same time.
The seven-year coach deserves much better than this considering what he has had to work with over the past four years. It has been a revolving door in Milwaukee that saw players come and go faster than fans could buy jerseys of their favorite players. There has been absolutely zero consistency on the roster with the exception of late last season to this year. Of course, when Skiles finally gets the same squad to work with he is canned before ever finding out what could have been.
The other problem is ownership. Herb Kohl has dished out the money for a team that has one of the lowest attendance records in the NBA, which is nice because he wants to field a winner. The only problem is he gives way too much cash to players that do not deserve it. In what universe is benchwarmer Dan Gadzuric worth $6 million per season over a six-year span? The bad contracts eat away at the team and it is impossible to bring in anyone talented.
The Bucks have put together a loser for far too long and the fan base has let the organization know this by never showing up for games. This falls directly on the Bucks as the organization has failed to have a legitimate winner since Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson, Ray Allen and Sam Cassell came within one game of going to the NBA Finals in 2001.
Another huge problem is that Kohl never let Milwaukee fall down low enough to get a high draft pick. The horrendous teams over the years would lose games left and right but Kohl would tell his general manager to pick up players to try and get some wins at the end of the season. This was a terrible move, as Milwaukee never got good lottery picks even though they were one of the worst teams in the league. And the one year the Bucks finally did get the No. 1 overall pick, they messed it up by selecting Andrew Bogut over players such as Deron Williams, Chris Paul and Andrew Bynum.
Personally, when I found out Milwaukee hired Skiles I was ecstatic. I remember watching Chicago Bulls games when Skiles coached them and wishing he could lead the Bucks. I thought Skiles would be good for the team because he is a hard-nosed coach that does not allow his players to slack on or off the court. He is also a defensive-minded coach, which is something Milwaukee desperately needed.
The problem with this was that Skiles was given decent defensive players but nobody that could score. Also, he could not run the offense he wanted to do with Bogut trotting up and down the court. Bucks’ fans finally got a glimpse of what a good Skiles team is capable of in the 2009-10 playoffs when Bogut went down with an injury. The team played outstanding defensive basketball and flew up and down the court as a team. Unfortunately, without any size in the middle they were no match for the big Atlanta Hawks.
I believe the 2012-13 Bucks team is exactly what Skiles wanted for years in Milwaukee. He has the great defensive players who are some of the best blockers in the league while he also has players that can score from anywhere on the court. However, the team is relatively young and the players are still learning to work together after acquiring Monta Ellis late last season, which means there is a small adjustment period. I think if Skiles was at least given the rest of this year he could have surprised many, but that is obviously something we will never know.
It is true that management may want more of a player’s coach, something Skiles certainly was not. There are many times over his coaching career that he would butt heads with players, which would result that particular player getting benched. However, I liked his aggressive style because it got the players revved up and it showed on the court when the team would play top tier opponents.
It will be interesting to see who GM John Hammond will bring in next to be the head coach because if the team does not make the playoffs this season there is a good chance he will be the next person out the door.
Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.