clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

We first need a chance to find out if we're wrong

It's getting to the point where it's tough to come up with reasons not to fire Scott Skiles. This team is just abysmal to watch, and especially listen to, when hearing about how they're getting better while scoring 78 points in consecutive games to the Knicks and Raptors. The freaking Knicks! A team that can't play any defense and is always looking for an excuse to roll over and die each game.

This start is beyond any likely scenario going into the season. It will mean braying and gnashing over opportunities lost (especially the made-up kind, like being able to get Garnett). But unless you predicted that Hinrich, Gordon, Deng, Thomas and Sefolosha would all regress, I can't see how clamoring for a major shake-up in the summer would've made enough of a difference now.

Because the sad thing is that this team is so far from their norms it's nearly impossible to find out if they'll be worth keeping long-term, which was a goal coming into this season. Granted, if they stay this bad then then we did find out, but I still don't see that happening.

So Pax assembled this current mess, but he also assembled a very good young team last year that should be improving. So to me he's in the clear for now. Right now his major misfire is the Ben Wallace signing, but there's still time to salvage that.

But Skiles? He's not the main problem, but I don't doubt that Skiles' lineup shenanigans made things worse. The fact that at game 11 he's circled back at the original starting lineup means the early change was mostly arbitrary and pointless in the first place. Not to mention going from starting Adrian Griffin go DNPing him in a week.

Yes, Skiles' teams improve, but this start is beyond repair to become a 'successful' season anyway. A made-up rule is to use 20 games as a good indicator, and even if they win 8 straight they'd be .500 after 20 games, which is a failure. And just because Skiles' teams have started with bad records before doesn't mean they have any special ability to get out of bad records (usually it's a cupcake schedule, which won't be the case this December like the last). And when they do play better, what's 'turning it around'? 44 wins and have Skiles blow at least one playoff game by playing his veterans too much? Getting back to how they have been isn't good enough.

I'm more just wanting Pax to make a statement that this hasn't worked, and lets try something different. Fire Skiles now (or more likely if they lose Tuesday against a not-terrible Atlanta team, so Pax will have until Saturday to make a change, and give the new coach a honeymoon game against Charlotte), get in an assistant to at least play different rotations and give the team a new voice, and then between now and February there's plenty of info to glean and then deals to potentially make. This franchise is still in a good position with a lot of young talent. Lets not waste it by letting Skiles 'figure things out'.

No, Skiles' replacement won't make the Bulls shoot better, but Skiles won't either. So really what's the difference? Skiles is a good coach: I don't even mind his media mindgames with his players, and actually find his comments refreshing, honest, and funny. But while I don't care about his words, I do care about his actions, namely playing time. In that regard he hasn't seemed to have progressed with his talent, and while I still think he's quality, he's replaceable.

Replaceable like any coach. It happens when teams are this far below expectations. Do that first, and players come next. The players are more to blame, and it's not quite fair, sure, but it's not as if there's a zero-sum blame equation, and so just because the players are bad doesn't mean that Skiles isn't also bad. And it's easier to let him go first.