Thursday, December 27, 2007

A "No Bull" Cause

When Scott Skiles was fired as head coach of the Chicago Bulls on Christmas Eve, he told the Chicago Tribune: "Hardly a day goes by that I don't demand accountability and stress results. Today was my day to be held accountable."

It's that type of vintage Scott Skiles attitude that I'm going to miss. But I'm not surprised that it came to this (although I didn't think it would be this December). He is unafraid to let others know what he thinks, and that can be a blessing and a curse. For young players trying to find their way in the NBA, a no-nonsense tough guy like Skiles can motivate them pretty well. For a veteran player who thinks he's paid all of his dues, a guy like Skiles wears thin pretty quickly; and once a veteran is openly rebelling in the locker room, it doesn't take long for others to follow suit.

While John Paxson's patience with Skiles had obviously run out, there are rumors that Skiles had repeatedly let Paxson know that he was dissatisfied with what he had to work with on the roster. Based on my own observations of the Bulls this season, I wouldn't be surprised if Skiles had indeed complained to Paxson about his roster. After all, the Bulls do not have a single All-Star, lack a legitimate inside scoring presence, and they frankly have various match-up problems at every position (with the possible exception of small forward where Luol Deng is a solid player at both ends of the court when his back isn't hurting).

Last year I felt as though the Bulls were assembling the pieces of a team that could eventually compete for the NBA championship. However, now that I've seen how this season has started, it's looking like Paxson will have even greater difficulty acquiring the missing pieces without giving up too much. It will be interesting to see how the team plays from here on out, and I will be especially curious to see how Tyrus Thomas and Thabo Sefolosha progress under interim head coach Jim Boylan.

As for Skiles, even though he is no longer a Bull, I think if he ever got another NBA coaching gig you could still count on him to bring that same "No Bull" attitude.

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