Bucks Diary

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mental Notes from the Skiles Interview

Very late last night I caught a replay of the recent interview Dennis Krause did with Milwaukee Bucks coach Scott Skiles on Time Warner Cable sports channel 32. As usual, Krause did an outstanding job with his line of questioning. I didn't have my dictaphone handy, but here are a few mental notes I can recall one day later...

1. Skiles has the "it" factor.
I need to be careful. I cannot lose my objectivity when it comes to the Bucks head man, but in the case of Coach Skiles, I feel it slipping away. At the same time, I cannot remember a particular coach whose style is more perfectly designed to cure what has plauged a particular team than Scott Alan Skiles to the Milwaukee Bucks. Now, don't misunderstand. Im not contending that Scott Skiles is a GREAT coach. He's far from it.

But I am contending that he is the PERFECT coach for this team at this time. As a Bucks fan, I've watched the slow, painful castration of three different Milwaukee Bucks coaches by five different Milwaukee Bucks teams. I can't see the same happening to Skiles. He has this "take charge" attitude about him that's so readily apparent.

2. An Echo of Early Holmgren.
At one point in the interview, Skiles specifically told Dennis Krause that he was not "a yeller and a screamer", which, if you will recall, is exactly what Mike Holmgren told the Green Bay media upon being introduced as Packers head coach in 1992. Of course we came to find out he most certainly was a yeller and a screamer. In fact, its my experience that coaches who proclaim themselves non-yeller/screamers always are. So that was reassuring. Also, he said he doesn't seek confrontations, but "in this business, sometimes you can't avoid them". Translation: he loves them. More Bucks Diary bonus points for the coach.

3. Redd will be asked to defend, select better shots
Asked about how Michael Redd fit into his system, Skiles did not avoid the question. He said Redd would be an important part of the system, but that "he will be asked to defend his position, obviously". Music to my ears, though, if you read my Win Profile of the Bucks, you will notice that Redd's defensive woes were tied mainly to his time at the small forward position. He's a pretty good defender at the 2. Also, Skiles said... and this almost brought me to tears of joy... that Redd would be asked "to be a little more judicious with his shot selection". Skiles said he wanted Redd to be "a more efficient scorer". He said Redd "was not a below 45% shooter in this league." All music to my ears. Skiles gets it.

4. There will be no crying in Scotty Ball
When asked about Andrew Bogut's frequent complaints about not getting the ball enough, Skiles wasn't directly critical of Bogut, but he sort of made it clear that he didn't want to hear that kind of griping this season. He said there was too much of that last season. He then insinuated that there were times when Bogut may have dogged it getting to the offensive end. He said if Andrew was willing to transition better, and thereby earn more touches, they would work to get him those touches. Again, accountability.... LOVE IT.

5. Why Mo got the door and Luke may get the point
When Skiles described the Bucks newly acquired point guard Luke Ridnour as a "pass-first" point guard, he went a long way toward answering two lingering questions from the off-season. Namely: Why did the Bucks dispatch Mo Williams, and who does the coach plan to have man the point this season? Obviously, the answer to the first question centers around Williams inclination to shoot first and pass... well... later on. We kind of knew that, but no one in the organization really expressed it directly. Actually, I would have thought it was his defense that put him on a taxi cab out to Billy Mitchell. I mean, look at my Defensive Win Score numbers. Williams defense made a matador look like a steer wrestler. Williams case aside, though, I must say I'm generally not entirely comfortable with the "point guards must be passers" philosophy. In fact, I think the philosophy for point guards ought to be no different than the one the coach wants to instill in Michael Redd: Namely, if you have offensive opportunities, take them, but if your teammates have better opportunities get them the ball. In short, be judicious. That ought to be the rule whether you man the point guard or the power forward... pass on tough shots, get the ball to teammates who have easy shots. My worry with the whole "point guards must pass" philosophy is that it will have the unintended consequence of stifling one of the team's few potentially positive offensive Win Contributors, namely the young point guard Ramon Sessions.

6. What, Scotty worry?
Krause repeatedly asked Skiles if he was worried about the team getting off to a slow start, which had happened to past Skiles-led teams in Chicago. Skiles sort of poo-poohed the notion, but I got the impression, from comments Skiles made about the "tough early schedule" that it may indeed be somewhere in the back of his mind.


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