Tag:Scott Skiles
Posted on: February 17, 2012 4:59 pm

Skiles and Jackson aren't getting along

Stephen Jackson and Scott Skiles are not getting along in Milwaukee. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

In news that will surprise exactly no one, Scott Skiles and Stephen Jackson are not getting along. Jackson was initially reticent about being traded to the Bucks, and has struggled mightily on the floor. It was thought Jackson's perimeter shooting and commitment to defense would be a perfect fit for the offensively inept Bucks, but the Racine Journal Times reports that things have already hit a pretty low point: 

After Stephen Jackson was benched for the second half of a game against Denver Jan. 17, I asked the Bucks veteran swingman whether he had any inkling Bucks coach Scott Skiles was going to do that.

Jackson said he didn't get any advance warning and he didn't get any explanation after the game, either.

It was abundantly clear even then that Jackson, whom the Bucks acquired from Charlotte last June and was expected to be a key piece to the Bucks' puzzle this season, wasn't on the same page with Skiles.

Now, a month later, Jackson's relationship with Skiles seemingly has disintegrated. In an interview with Rod Burks of Channel 4 (NBC) in Milwaukee, Jackson said: "We don't have no relationship like I've had with other coaches and I don't expect to have one. Too much stuff has happened."
via BUCKS BEAT: Jackson, Skiles are all business.

Yeah, that's not good.

The Warriors were criticized for handing Jackson his last massive extension, the Bobcats were criticized for trading for that contract, and the Bucks were criticized for trading for that contract the Bobcats had traded for. That Jackson has seemingly fallen off the age cliff just makes matters worse. He's the worst kind of asset when he doesn't fit in with the team culture. He's an outspoken veteran who won't fall in line just to fall in line, who can be great in the right situation and terrible in the wrong, on a massive contract with years remaining and a declining skill set.

So, no, the Bucks will not have an easy time finding a suitor. That said, there's always someone out there looking for veteran scorers, and Milwaukee should definitely accept taking a bath on the investment in order to clear Jackson's money off the books. It wasn't a terrible idea to bring in Jackson, it just didn't work. Seems like so many ideas under the current regime in Milwaukee, unfortunately. 
Posted on: January 20, 2012 1:52 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2012 4:42 pm

Skiles suspends Stephen Jackson for missing bus

Posted by Ben Golliver stephen-jackson-mil

In the most predictable event of the 2011-2012 season, hard-headed Milwaukee Bucks coach Scott Skiles has reportedly suspended the equally hard-headed Stephen Jackson for Friday night's game against the Knicks in New York because his guard missed the team's bus.

The Journal-Sentinel reports that Jackson was benched during the fourth quarter of Tuesday night's loss to the Denver Nuggets and then wasn't on the bus for shootaround on Friday. The team told the paper the absence was "unexcused."

Jackson's comments after going 0-for-6 against Denver seemed a bit defensive.
"If they want to blame it on somebody, I'll take the blame," said Jackson, who finished with two points on 0-of-6 shooting in 17 minutes.

"I guess they expected me to spaz out and go crazy, but it's too late in the game for that. I don't know what they were trying to prove. When he (Skiles) didn't play me, my thoughts were to support the young fellas and support everybody out there and try to get this win.

"If they want to make it personal, they can. I'm used to it."
Jackson, 33, is off to a rough start in Milwaukee.

Traded by the Charlotte Bobcats to the Bucks in a 3-team deal on the night of the 2011 NBA Draft, Jackson is averaging 13.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game, his worst numbers in nine years. He's made it known publicly that a contract extension is "mandatory" and he's admitted that he checked out on the Bobcats last season after they traded forward Gerald Wallace to the Portland Trail Blazers at the trade deadline. Meanwhile, the Bucks are on a 3-game losing streak and in fourth place in the Central Division with a record of 4-9.

Poor individiual play, losing, combative coach: all the elements are there for an explosion. Unfortunately for the Bucks, Jackson's contract runs through 2012-2013, so this situation has plenty of time to boil over.

Hat tip: ProBasketballTalk

Posted on: April 4, 2011 7:28 pm
Edited on: April 4, 2011 8:01 pm

Brandon Jennings calls out teammates, management

Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings lashes out at his teammates and management. Posted by Ben Golliver. brandon-jennings

As we noted back at the end of December, the Milwaukee Bucks are one of the few teams this season that entered the 2010-2011 campaign with major expectations and then fell flat on their faces. There are a bunch of bad teams in the NBA but, by and large, the lottery teams today are the lottery teams that were expected in October.

The Bucks, however, entered this season by extending coach Scott Skiles and with the playoffs, and possibly contending for a Central Division title, in mind. That didn't happen. At all. 

At 31-45, Milwaukee will soon be mathematically eliminated from the playoff picture and Brandon Jennings isn't happy about it. The Racine Journal-Times reports that the second year point guard is blasting off in every direction, calling out his teammates for their lack of effort and his team's management for their moves. 
After the Bucks were virtually eliminated from the Eastern Conference playoffs in a loss Friday to the Indiana Pacers, Bucks starting point guard Brandon Jennings publicly expressed what many of his teammates had privately felt for months. "Some guys have the mind-set of winning on the team and some guys just don't,'' Jennings said.
Jennings then an indirectly took a shot at Bucks general manager John Hammond, assistant general manager Jeff Weltman and coach Scott Skiles, the three biggest personnel decision-makers in the organization next to owner Herb Kohl. "We traded a lot of pieces I feel like we should have kept,'' Jennings said. "But that's part of the business and you've got to roll with it.''
Jennings is 21 years old, has dealt with a foot injury that caused him to miss a bunch of time this season and is an emotional person who wears his heart on his sleeve. With that said, true point guards and leaders are better than this.

Clearly, any assessment of responsibility should start with Jennings himself. He's taken a step backwards this season statistically, averaging less than five assists per game despite starting 55 games so far and playing more than 34 minutes a night. Sure, the shooting talent around him leaves a lot to be desired, but ramping up his ability to get others involved would be a great first step in launching a "winning mindset" among his teammates.

Speaking of the winning mindset, jacking five three-pointers a game when you shoot 32.5% from downtown is the opposite of a winning mindset. That's just bleeding inefficiency all over the court and setting up your team for failure. Three options: become a better shooter, take better shots or take fewer shots. The math on those numbers will never compute to success and it's not anyone else's fault. That's on Jennings. 

Questioning your team's management is almost never a good idea in the NBA, especially when you're 21 years old. Nothing good can come from it and that type of thing has the power to alter a franchise's path in a negative way, cutting into the trust that needs to exist between front office and star player. If something needs to be said, say it behind closed doors.

Hopefully there's someone that's in Jennings' ear right now letting him know that if he continues to be the 27th most efficient point guard in the NBA he better get used to dealing with the losing, regardless of how hard he's trying. Succeeding in the NBA isn't always about effort and dedication. No one can question Jennings' love of the game, but he needs to develop his understanding of its nuances as well as the ability to hold himself accountable on the court before pointing fingers off of it.
Posted on: March 26, 2011 6:42 pm
Edited on: March 26, 2011 11:14 pm

Thibodeau and Skiles: Mirrors of intensity

Tom Thibodeau is the talk of the town in Chicago. But as his Bulls meet the Bucks tonight, he'll face a coach who follows in his model, and should serve as a warning of when to let up on the pedal. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Tom Thibodeau is red hot right now. As much as people credit Derrick Rose and his MVP season with the rise of the Bulls, Thibodeau gets the other half of that credit. Consider for a moment that a key starter and heavy-minutes player for Thibodeau is Carlos Boozer, who Marc Gasol breezed by Friday night in the Bulls' nail-biter win over Memphis. Despite Boozer's defensive shortcomings and Rose's inexperience, the Bulls' defense is tops because of Thibodeau's coaching. It's his system combined with his notorious intensity that makes him such a fierce challenge to face across the scorer's table. 

But if Thibodeau wants a warning sign about where that intensity can sometimes lead, he need only look across the table Saturday night at Scott Skiles, who knows not only the team Thibodeau's coaching, but what can happen when a coach pushes his team to the point where his team tunes out his intensity. 

It's forgotten now as all such things are in hindsight, but Skiles was very similar to Thibodeau on the eve of the season opener in 2007. Despite the formation of the Boston Big 3, no one knew how that team would gel. What they did know was that the Bulls had been on the upswing every season and were in line to challenge for the Eastern Conference Finals. They were a young team with talent at multiple positions, a star guard in Ben Gordon, and defensive talent out the wazoo. They had toppled the defending champion Miami Heat in the first round, and lost to mighty Pistons in six games in the semis. 2007-2008 was supposed to be their year, behind stellar guard play and incredible defense led by Skiles' intensity.

Yeah, not so much. 

The Bulls plummeted out of the gate and never recovered. It was like watching debris fall of a crashing airplane. You would see bits and pieces and know there was no recovery. By Christmas, actually, on Christmas Eve, Skiles was fired by the Bulls.  He had quite simply lost the team. That's the cost of pushing your team verbally and physically. If things start to come undone, they come undone quickly, violently, and are nearly impossible to recover. When things go right for a coach that pushes like that, things are great, you're considered a genius, everyone respects you, and you're lauded as a top-notch disciplinarian coach. When things go badly, you run the risk of your players quitting on you, tuning you out, and once that happens, the effectiveness is over. From there it's just a matter of time until the pink slip comes in the mail. 

Hmmm... great guard play... excellent defense... questionable offense... great run in the playoffs spelling a good chance for the future... followed by a plummet out of the gate and an eventually disappointing season in which people start to question if the coach has lost the team. If this sounds like what has gone on in Milwaukee this season to you, congratulations, you're solid at recognizing patterns. 

Skiles was supposed to take the Bucks to the next level this season. GM John Hammond loaded up on offensive weapons like Corey Maggette and Drew Gooden to supplement Skiles' defensive prowess, and with Andrew Bogut coming back from surgery and Brandon Jennings entering his sophomore season along with a loaded frontline of versatile, athletic defenders, there was no reason to think the Bucks couldn't secure a strong playoff spot and make some progress towards contention. Instead? The offense is somehow, magically, even worse, and it's not all Andrew Bogut's slow-to-heal elbow and the injury woes of Brandon Jennings. The Bucks simply cannot score. 

While the Bucks remain a top five team defensively, the offense is second to last in the league. They have never found that extra gear. Even with Bogut's injury, the team had enough talent to contend. This could just be a down year, something they'll bounce back from. But more than one person has suggested that Skiles has already started to lose the team.

Meanwhile, the media can't write enough feel-good pieces about Tom Thibodeau and his intensity leading to the Bulls' incredible season. That their offense is middle of the pack is overlooked in a barrage of "check out what Derrick Rose did" commentary. Things are great for Thibodeau right now, and it's entirely possible that this is the start of the next great career coach for the Bulls. The Bulls winning the title is not outside the realm of possibility.

But as much as the Bulls players may love playing for a coach who is constantly looking to improve, to find new ways to win, and to challenge his guys, there's always that possibility that at some point, it just stops. There aren't warning signs when a team stops listening. There aren't red flags, public comments, and it's impossible to predict when. If it was, Stan Van Gundy would have been fired seventy times by now. It just happens. It may never happen to Thibodeau. But just as he enjoys the good times and looks forward to making the Bulls the best they can possibly be, there's always that shadow of possibility looming overhead that he should keep an eye on. And if he wants to look it in the eye, just look his opponent's coach in the eye after they shake hands Saturday night.
Posted on: March 1, 2011 4:09 pm

Andrew Bogut out one week with rib injury

Andrew Bogut out one week with chest injury.
Posted by Matt Moore

OK, good news, bad news. Bad news, Andrew Bogut's injured. Good news, it's not a horribly grotesque injury like the last time out. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that Bogut has a strained muscle in his rib-cage area and will miss a week's worth of time. 

For the Bucks, this couldn't come at a worse time.  In a season where they were supposed to build upon last season's success, the Bucks have struggled significantly.  Brandon Jennings hasn't progressed, the offense they brought in has sputtered, the defense has regressed slightly, and they're four games back of the 8th spot in the East. So now really isn't the time to be missing players, but Tuesday night they'll be without Bogut, Ersan Ilyasova, and Drew Gooden.  

Basically, Scott Skiles will be running small-ball like mad against Detroit. The Bucks face Phoenix and Boston within a week's time, which means a toss-up game and a likely loss. But without Bogut those both become at best probably losses if not locks. Bogut's their best player, even as he's admitted he's not close to 100 percent this season after that elbow injury. 

It remains curious that Milwaukee did nothing with their expiring contracts, most notably Michael Redd, at the deadline. It's strange they didn't attempt a major shakeup with the veteran scorers they had on the market. It seemed to be a trend with Midwestern small-market teams hoarding cap space, as Indiana pushed the same policy at the deadline. Bogut needs to get back from injury for them to make a late push for the playoffs, but at the same time, Bogut's importance goes far beyond this season. Especially since it may be a lost cause regardless. 
Posted on: January 4, 2011 11:04 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 11:31 pm

Bizarre coaching events abound

Strange coaching occurrences in New York, Miami.
Posted by Matt Moore

Two strange pieces of coaching news occurred in the NBA Tuesday night, one in Miami where two techs does not equal an ejection, and one in New York, where the fat lady didn't sing, but it was over anyway apparently.

The Heat came back from a halftime deficit, again, to beat the Bucks 101-89. Scott Skiles was whistled for your run of the mill technical foul for getting all Skiles-like on the sideline in the first half. In the second half, Skiles accidentally made contact with a player on the floor, earning him a second technical. So two techs equals an automatic ejection, right? Except the officials ruled that the second technical was not on account of "unsportsmanlike conduct" which is requisite for an ejection, and therefore Skiles got to stay. Very strange all around. Not as strange as the continuing collapse of the Bucks after such a great 2010 season, but still pretty odd.

Even more bizarre, however, was Gregg Popovich's decision to pull his starters with 3:13 remaining in the 4th down by only 10 to the Knicks. The Spurs' defense was horrific all night to be sure, allowing over 100 points in three-quarters. But the Spurs were still hanging in a very Spurs way, when suddenly, apparently Popovich had seen enough from his team and pulled Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Richard Jefferson. The Spurs' offense featured Chris Quinn, Gary Neal, and Ime Udoka down the stretch. In shocking news, the Knicks hung on over that mighty lineup, 128-115 .

Some speculated that Popovich was merely resting his starters for Wednesday night's game against the Boston Celtics.  But judging from the behavior of Manu and Parker on the sideline, Pop was making a point. I guess at 29-45, Pop felt he could spare a win in order to make a point. Either way, New York managed to hold on against a playoff contender at home.

In other news, Kevin Durant missed a three-pointer to tie, the lion laid down with the lamb, and a bad moon is rising. Run for your lives!
Posted on: October 26, 2010 5:38 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:05 pm

Bucks keep brain trust: Hammond, Skiles extended

The Milwaukee Bucks have reportedly extended the contracts of general manager John Hammond and coach Scott Skiles. Posted by Ben Golliverjohn-hammond

Marc Stein of Yahoo! Sports reports on Twitter that the Milwaukee Bucks have "exercised the option on the contract of GM John Hammond and extended the contract of coach Scott Skiles through 2012-2013 season." The moves are of the no-brainer variety, as the Bucks have been a team on the rise ever since April 2008, when Hammond was hired away from the Detroit Pistons, where he had served as Vice President of Basketball Operations under Joe Dumars. At the time of his hire, the Bucks were in the midst of a 26 win season.  The following year, they improved to 34 wins and, after Hammond boldly drafted point guard Brandon Jennings in the 2009 lottery, the team won 46 games last season to make the playoffs for the first time since 2005-2006. Hammond was named NBA Executive of the Year in 2010, reflecting the team's progress. Skiles is credited with an intense work ethic, defensive approach and has earned all sorts of praise for his ability to guide Jennings's development. A former NBA guard himself, Skiles has an 80-84 coaching record in two seasons with the Bucks. Prior to signing on in Milwaukee, he coached both the Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns. Last year, Skiles finished second to Oklahoma City's Scott Brooks for the NBA Coach of the Year award. The contract extensions are signs of stability and progress for the Bucks, a team that should compete for the Central Division title this season.
Posted on: October 13, 2010 2:07 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:48 pm

Young Money goes bank from half court

Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings makes a halfcourt shot off the backboard.

Posted by Ben Golliver

The Milwaukee Bucks held an open practice for their fans on Tuesday and, wouldn't you know it, fan favorite Brandon Jennings stole the show by banking in a shot from halfcourt. Here's the video, courtesy of Bucks.com on Youtube . This wasn't a fluke: Last year, Jennings actually shot better from three-point range (37.4%) than he did overall from the field (37.1%) during the regular season.

In other words, you should probably expect Young Money to start shooting the ball instead of inbounding it by roughly the middle of December while Bucks coach Scott Skiles should have an innovative "full court chuck" offensive set implemented by March. Coach to your personnel's strengths, that's what I always say.
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