Bucks and Skiles agree to part ways, Boylan new head coachWisconsin Sports
- The Milwaukee Bucks and coach Scott Skiles agreed to part ways just hours after NBA.com reported that Skiles was not interested in coming back next year.
MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Bucks and coach Scott Skiles agreed to part ways just hours after NBA.com reported that Skiles was not interested in coming back next year.
David Aldridge, a columnist for the league’s Web site, said Skiles had resigned himself to being elsewhere next season. And the AP said the Bucks made the decision last night to let Skiles go now, saying he’s had trouble selling his defensive-minded style to a team that keeps adding powerhouse players on offense. The Bucks have lost four straight games, falling back to .500 at 16-16. But they’re still in the playoff hunt, tied with Boston for the bottom two post-season spots in the NBA’s Eastern Conference – and Milwaukee is just three games behind front-running Indiana in the Central Division.
Assistant coach Jim Boylan will lead the team tonight, when the Bucks host Phoenix. Skiles and general manager John Hammond are both in the final seasons of their five-year contracts – but NBA.com said yesterday it was more likely that Hammond would return than Skiles. The Bucks had still not confirmed by mid-morning today that Skiles is gone. The team’s Web site still listed him as the head coach.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel said Skiles led the Bucks at practice yesterday, and then met with his bosses later in the day. Both Skiles and general manager John Hammond were in the fifth-and-final year of their contracts. Bucks’ owner Herb Kohl had refused to give them extensions at the end of last season – thus putting the onus on both Skiles and Hammond to produce this time around. The Bucks got off to a 6-2 start, but they’ve gone 10-14 since, with a four-game losing streak. Kohl wanted a playoff run this year – and the Bucks are still on track to make the post-season, but just barely. Milwaukee has fallen into a tie with Boston for the final two post-season spots in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
Skiles only made the playoffs once in Milwaukee. That was three seasons ago, when the Bucks went 46-36 and lost in the first round to Atlanta in seven games. Milwaukee went 35-47 the next year, and 31-35 in the lockout-shortened campaign a year ago. All told, Skiles went 162-182 with the Bucks – and he’s 443-433 in 13 seasons as an NBA coach, including his previous stints at Phoenix and Chicago. Skiles was also ordered to win more at home. The Bucks are only 9-8 at the Bradley Center this season. And they haven’t won since December 29th, when they needed a fourth-quarter comeback to beat defending league champion Miami at home.
Skiles has emphasized defense throughout his 13 seasons as an NBA coach. But in 2011, when the Bucks won only 35 games, ESPN said Hammond sought to add high scorers at the expense of Skiles’ defensive favorites. And it was clear who won out, after the Bucks traded the injured Andrew Bogut to Golden State for high-scoring guard Monta Ellis at last year’s trade deadline. Jennings and Ellis are among the league’s top offensive duos, but they’ve also pitched in on defense as well. And both will be restricted free-agents at the end of the season – although Hammond has told NBA.com that the Bucks will match any offer Jennings gets from another team.
Bucks’ forward Ersan Ilyasova practiced yesterday, and he’s expected to play tonight at home against Phoenix. Ilyasova injured his right ankle in Friday night’s home loss to Houston. It swelled up, and he had to miss Saturday night’s loss at Indiana. Ilyasova said he twisted the ankle when he stepped on another player’s foot – and he was in a lot of pain on Saturday. He received treatment on Sunday. Ilyasova is averaging nine points and three-and-a-half rebounds in 23 minutes per game, after he signed a five-year, 40-million dollar contract last summer to stay in Milwaukee.