The dramatic effect Skiles could have on the Bucks
The more I think about this Scott Skiles hiring, the more I think it may have been a stroke of genius.
I initially wanted Rick Carlisle hired, although frankly, looking back on it, I can't really articulate why. Upon closer analysis, Skiles may have always been the better choice.
Why? Because of the situation the Bucks are in. The Bucks culture of defensive sloth and indifference has been here for so long, and is so deep-rooted within the franchise, only a dramatic figure could hope to eradicate it.
And in recent NBA history, there has been no more dramatic defensive fix-it man than Scott Skiles. In fact, when it comes to fixing NBA defenses, Scott Skiles is "The Wolf". You may not want him for the long haul, but when you need defensive solutions right now, he's the man to call.
Are Happy Days here again? Maybe.
Let's get theoretical. How much of an impact will Skiles likely have on the Bucks?
Well, if you accept my "Defensive Win Score" and "Defensive Half Wins" concepts, and this season they proved approximately 93% accurate, and if you further accept that a coach can make individual players perform better defensively, then Scott Skiles could have a dramatic impact on the Milwaukee Bucks... and faster than you might think.
Here's what I mean. In the five full seasons Scott Skiles has been an NBA coach with two different franchises, his teams have recorded Defensive Win Scores of 35.5, 35.2, 36.2, 37.6, and 34.0. Each franchise regularly recorded Defensive Win Scores in the 40s prior to Skiles arrival. And he turned each of them around in his first full season.
If Skiles does it again in Milwaukee next season, one can estimate the result will be about 62.1 defensive half wins. If that is the case, then even if the offense produces the same anemic 26.2 half wins it did this season, the Bucks are still a 44-38 team in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Is this all fanciful theorizing? Can Skiles really come to this barren defensive wasteland and conjure such a dramatic transformation? Given his compelling track record, I believe he can. In fact, the evidence clearly suggests HE WILL... and by no later than year two.