Friday, March 09, 2007

In(different) Defense of Skiles

So over at FD, Billups has a post up lambasting Skiles. Some of it is indeed pretty fucking hilarious:

Scott Skiles could have been many things. I mean, with that court vision, that sense of floor leadership, that never-quit attitude? And with that personality!? Sheeeeeeeit, String! He could have been a credit card collections agent, a Department of Corrections officer or maybe even a semi-professional animal torturer. He’s got that look, right?


and:

[Skiles'] kind of hands-on, up-in-the-mix, aggro, micro-management, I-was-never-good-enough-for-dad-and-you'll-never-be-good-enough-for-me bullshit is just a waste of time, oxygen and cap room.


That said, some of the shit he's spitting is just stupid. He gives us the whole "Tyson Chandler-Is-Blossoming-As-A-Hornet" spiel, which, as Pax Jax pointed out some time ago, is just garbage. Compare Tyson's 04-05 stats to his stats this year. They're almost identical. (I'd link to you baby, but Taurine Dream's down. What up with that?)

He adds the "All Eddy Curry Needed Is Love And Now That Isiah Rubs His Balls Nightly And Stares Coquettishly Into His Eyes, He's On His Way To Being A Dominant Center" hokum. (Although even here, Billups has to note that he "probably" will be a dominant center. Why the hedging, Bill? Could it be that hard work might actually have something to do with maximizing one's innate potential? Or maybe it's that Eddy could keel over at any moment, which (ahem) is the reason that the Bulls got rid of him.)

Then at the end he pops off on some Skiles quote in which he praises Gordon, but notes that he's not a complete player yet. For some reason, this sentiment offends Billups deeply, who notes all-hard-like that "Ben Gordon wins fucking games." Well, no shit. Maybe that's why in the quote you consider so damning Skiles explicitly says, "Ben is a very good offensive player" and then adds amidst his criticisms of other aspects of Ben's game, "It’s not that he’s not a very good player for us or anything."

I think my feelings for Ben Gordon are well known. I wouldn't trade him for anybody. (Except, possibly, D-Wade.) But he's in his third year and the fact is, he's not a complete player yet. But another fact is, he's becoming one. His defense is noticeably improving. He's a much better passer this year. He's getting to the line a lot more. Hell, at 6'2, he's even becoming a serviceable rebounding guard. Some of this is because Ben's getting older and learning the league and maturing. But some of this is because Skiles is making him work hard. What's so offensive about this?

But maybe I'm taking this too seriously, because like I said, the post is really fucking funny, and quite frankly, I think Skiles probably is an asshole. Quite a bit of what Billups says is totally valid and I sure as hell don't want to work myself into a frenzy defending everything Skiles does. (The 3-Guard Lineup appears to have died recently, but you never know if he'll resuscitate that shit or not.) But since he's taken over as coach, the Bulls have gone from laughingstocks to being respectable, and there's a decent chance they can make some noise in the East this year. Does Skiles deserve all the credit for this improvement? Of course not. But he deserves some.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Paxson Jackson said...

My google account was compromised, and Taurine Dream was destroyed. I haven't decided if I want to bring it back or not. I never thought it was a smooth read.

It sucks that you can't link to ya' know, objective facts about Tyson, but he is having a nearly identical year to 04-05 (even more so when I originally posted). He's just playing starter's minutes this season. This Billups character doesn't seem to be aware that the Bulls traded Eddy because he might fucking die on the court. His "top center" potential, which despite a good season for the NYK, is far from fully realized, and Paxson's (not Skiles) hands were tied when Curry wouldn't continue medical tests. I believe he was unable to get the NBA's health insurance when was traded to the Knicks. Eddy and Tyson are both still incredibly flawed half-players. I'd place more blame on Tim Floyd and Bill Cartwright for stunting the growth of Eddy and Tyson. Skiles was sent in to clean up other people's mistakes.

That Ben Gordon quote does't smell fresh to me. It might be from last season or earlier. Ben actually gives an effort on defense, which really is half the battle in the NBA.

Some moron in the comments at Free Darko even blames the headband rule on Skiles, which always seemed like an organizational rule from higher up the ladder to me. There are other teams that don't allow headbands, and really, everyone is over it.

Shame on Free Darko for this post. It's a big load of bullshit, and is exactly why Sam Smith and I don't like blogs.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Big Sweet said...

Skiles isn't perfect, and in the end it might turn out that he's not even the right coach for this Bulls team. But to lambast him for Curry's health and Tyson's "progress" is misguided and to say he had no hand in the recent success (after seven HORRIBLE seasons) is ludicrous. Billups should look in the mirror; maybe if Flip emphasized some defense a la Skiles even a little bit last playoffs, the Pistons wouldn't have struggled mightily against an inferior Cavs team and then bowed out in the conference finals.

11:37 AM  
Blogger CoachSkiles said...

Nnnnnnnnnn Ccccccccc Staaaaaaaaattttttttteeeeeee

N.C. State!!!!!!!!


79 fucking percent in the second half vs. Virginia yesterday. I'm pumped. They swept Va. Tech during the regular season. If they can pull if off today, you better host an ACC championship viewing at your crib, ya here me Bengo07!

Maybe it's the springlike weather, but I'm slightly euphoric today.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Griffinwings said...

Lord, do I agree with y'all! Ben Gordon is not just a good player; he is easily my favorite player in my brief, basketball-watching life. Anything that hurts/stunts/influences him negatively, I will rage against.

But I think people get the wrong impression of Skiles: Because he's blunt with the media, people assume he's this total asshole to his players. Why do we think we know this?

During the Orlando game, Doug Collins observed how Skiles, "like all coaches, starts talking to himself when the team starts losing. But he's really got no friends." That point really drove home a larger issue, that of how the TV cameras make the game look like Skiles is out there chewing his players out at every available opportunity. In actuality, he's bitching to his staff and to himself.

B Jizzle, I couldn't agree more. I actually think he's helped an extraordinarily young team grow in leaps and bounds. Why are Deng and Gordon having career years—by a significant margin—after being with the same coach for two years? Is it because he "doesn't instill self-belief?"

I love Mike D'Antioni and the way he treats his players. But they've got a seasoned veteran at point guard who basically runs the team for him. I think most coaches would be more relaxed if they had Stevie Nash at point.

Also, I think it's worth mentioning that Tyrus and Thabo are blossoming under Skiles. To suggest he only stunts his player's potential simply ignores the observable facts.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous bullshooter said...

To use somebody else's cliche, I think Skiles is definitely the A to B coach. But when he got to Chicago, the Bulls were no where near A and I think it's safe to say they are a lot closer to B than A now, and Skiles deserves a lot of the credit. His ability to get to C is hampered by big holes in his lineup and his love of small ball. If he doesn't run guys like Deng into the ground and gets somebody to produce more at the 4, he has a shot to get to C.

Did I miss something? When did Thabo blossom?

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Griffinwings said...

I should have said "blossoming" instead of "blossom." I realize he's still making silly turnovers but, as Skiles has pointed out, they're usually because of too much creativity in his ball-handling, not too little. My bigger points is that Skiles has stopped doing the "I will yank you if you make a turnover" method of a few years ago and I think that's benefitted Thabo.

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

I wouldn't worry too much about a Billups post. Or most of FreeDarko. They just seem the types that really loved the E-Rob/JalenRose Bulls because they were 6'8" and moved with an inner grace (or whatever B.S.).

6:17 PM  

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