Skiles Must Go
The Bulls are 0-5 and just one game into their annual early-season, seven-game West Coast road trip. Tonight's game with the equally hapless Warriors may be the best chance the Bulls have to avoid an 0-11 start.
For all the high hopes I, along with other Bulls fans had, heading into this season, it's quickly becoming sadly apparent that this season will go much like the last six. Terribly. Nothing appears to have changed except that this Bulls team may lose while remaining somewhat likeable while past Bulls teams lost and were rampant with whining malcontents that did a helluva job of killing off any lingering interest Bulls fans may have been clutching to.
Yippee! Our losers our likeable at least!
That said, I don't think it's too early to fire Scott Skiles. If the worst thing a coach can do is lose his team, it appears Skiles has reached that point. The connection is clearly flickering. Ben Gordon appears to be the latest Bulls player whose distaste for Skiles comes through loud and clear through thinly-veiled passive aggressive comments given to the press.
After Tuesday's 113-106 loss to the Kings, in which Gordon was benched early and never returned, he had this to say when asked about his performance:
"I didn't play. You can't ask that question."
When asked if he thought he deserved a another chance in the second half, it seems obvious Gordon wasn't happy with Skiles' decision to keep him on the bench.
"Why wouldn't I? Obviously, I made mistakes. But who doesn't make mistakes?"
Yep, it looks like Skiles has begun the shredding process of yet another relationship with a Bull, not to mention damage the fragile confidence of a rookie. Skiles isn't very nimble when it comes to relationships, is he?
Comments such as Gordon's are eerily familiar to those made by Bulls players in the past. While no player has come right out and directly criticized Skiles, there has been no shortage of read-between-the-lines innuendo. It seems clear that Skiles lacks any of the necessary communication skills to relate to today's NBA players. He's in the wrong place and wrong time. Maybe even the wrong sport. With his eternally angry mug and fiery approach, Skiles would probably fit in nicely as a football coach. In the NBA, he's a firestarter. He's irrelevent. He's the sound of nothingness hitting deaf ears.
Yeah, it's sad that an old-school, work-your-tail-off-and-shut-up head coach like Skiles is essentially unemployable in today's NBA coaching carousel. It's sad that today's NBA players are so self-centered and pampered that anything resembling tough love is taken as simply unacceptable and an all-out affront to their millionaire selves. It's sad that the inmates, essentially, are running the asylum.
But it is what it is. You can't change the game, you can only adapt to it. Today's NBA is overrun with full-grown babies and grumps who have been told from a very early age that they are superstars and can do no wrong. Skiles' ever-present scowl, which can work wonders for a coach in another situation, is sadly out of place. It doesn't work. Period.
Look, this entire Skiles experiment is going to end badly. Trust me on this. Skiles is not going to engineer a turnaround and become beloved in this town. He's not going to lead the Bulls to the playoffs. Shit, he's never going to reach .500. Sorry to be so pessimistic. Yeah, with guys like Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng, I fully expect the Bulls to improve and turn the corner. Eventually. This is a positive as I possessed no such hope when guys like Jalen Rose and Jamal Crawford were team "leaders."
However, it's not going to happen on Skiles' watch. It's not.
So the question becomes, Why keep Skiles? If it's apparent that a new coach will be undeniably necessary in the near future, it's best to pursue that future in the immediate present. Why wait? By retaining Skiles, GM John Paxson is merely prolonging the inevitable.
A coach with better pampering skills is needed, maybe someone with a background in elementary education.
(Diddy, if you're reading this, feel free to rip Skiles a new one. I'm being way too nice.)
In the days before the 2004 NBA draft I was telling anyone who would listen that the Bulls should draft Wisconsin's Devin Harris. I figured it was hard to turn your back on a guy who could play either guard position, takes defense seriously, and whose reputation is spotless.
Instead Paxson drafted Gordon. Now, I'm not giving up on Gordon. Not at all. Five games is obviously way too early to do that. However, it's very frustrating to flip on SportsCenter and see highlights of Harris contributing for the contending Mavericks while Gordon lingers on the Bulls bench and appears to be nearing sulk mode.
Shit, just think of how intriguing Deng and Harris would look next to each other in the small forward/scoring guard spots. Talk about do-it-all versatility and athleticism. It makes me sad just to ponder the lost possibilities. Ah, what could have been.
It's about time people start listening to me, damnit! For fucksake!
I find it amusing - amusing in a sickening sort of way - that ABC has the audacity to play dumb and publicly apologize following the outcry of complaints over the Terell Owens/Nicollette Sheridan promo on Monday Night football.
Look, personally, I have no problem with ABC airing material full of sexual innuendo. In fact, if ABC decided to have all the women from "Desperate Housewives" standing on the sideline for the duration of the game in nothing but football spikes and headsets, I'd be all for it. Shit, I'd tape it and edit out all the parts where the telecast dared to switch to a boring football game.
I do, however, have problems with:
1) ABC acting dumb. The executives who came up with this inane promo knew exactly the buzz it would create. Acting as if they had no idea, as if they are shocked by the backlash, is insulting.
2) The involvement of Owens, who has openly bashed gays on more than one occasion. So let me get this straight: The geniuses at ABC take a close-minded bigot (Owens) and reward his hateful, harmful, sexist attitude by tossing a nude hottie in his arms? Shameless.
3) Kids watching at home. Yeah, I'm liberal, and, no, I don't have kids, but ABC is fully aware that young boys watch MNF. Obviously, this has no bearing on the callous a-holes who run ABC. Why avoid explicit references to casual sex when there is a TV show to promote? They probably made sure their own kids weren't watching. Shameless.
4) The choice of Sheridan. I mean, don't get me wrong, Sheridan is a hottie and all, but Eva Longoria was clearly the better choice. Teri Hatcher would have been preferable as well. I mean, what was ABC thinking...