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Scott Skiles is the new head coach in Orlando, for better or worse

Scott Skiles is the new head coach in Orlando, for better or worse
Published On: Fri, May 29 | Published By: Ball Don't Lie
You hope that the Orlando Magic know what they’re diving into. Scott Skiles can coach well at the NBA level. Scott Skiles will bring a semblance of professionalism to your roster, and define your culture. Your team will improve, and players of all types and motivations will respond positively. Scott Skiles, for 24 or even 36 months, will be the best part of your basketball team. [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] Scott Skiles, because spots don’t change, will eventually tire of his role, and his players will tire of him. The offense, heavy on passing but also mid-range jumpers, will fail in this modern era. Skiles’ sarcasm will leak out in reports both on record and off, and both he and his players will want a parting of ways. Skiles, understandably, will want all the guaranteed money left on his contract, and he’ll push to be fired rather than walking away. Jim Boylan will be hired as interim head coach upon his removal. Skiles was hired as Orlando Magic head coach on Friday, and though it doesn’t have to happen this way, it probably will. It is charming to see the one-time Magic point guard, the team’s first true star in the days before Nick Anderson took off and Shaquille O’Neal arrived, return to Florida, and it is important to bring in a statement character to a franchise that has been hamstrung with a middling, star-less rebuilding project due to the nature of the Dwight Howard trade fallout. Coaches don’t tend to change, however, in their 40s or 50s. It’s hard to think of one that has modified his approach in this re-tread league outside of Gregg Popovich. Coach Pop remains as grouchy and strident as ever, though, it’s only that his playbook has been modified to acclimate to a smarter and more efficient NBA. Skiles showed no such modification in his last shot in Milwaukee, the plays were the same ones that dogged Jason Kidd out in Phoenix around the fin de siècle, and they were the same ones that made the Kirk Hinrich/Antonio Davis screen and roll such a legendary one in Chicago. This doesn’t mean this is a bad hire, far from it. Orlando’s front office just as to act as cynically as we are. Milwaukee’s great blunder with Skiles was not forcing an obvious coach-in-waiting onto his bench. The team foolishly gave Skiles a contract extension through 2013 in 2010, after Skiles’ first two seasons went swimmingly. The same happened in Chicago in 2005 after Skiles’ first full year (after a knockabout half-season) saw the Bulls charge to a shocking 45-win season – the Bulls handed him four guaranteed years after he emerged as Their Guy. The same happened, repeat with me now, in Phoenix after Skiles put some sweat on the brow of an underachieving Suns team for a half a season. That was for five years. Orlando has to treat him as their Doug Collins. The fact that Skiles once dished 30 assists in one game and once wore Magic pinstripes is completely immaterial to anyone but the season ticket-holding grandparents that sit three rows up. He will come in and kick ass and push the Magic into winning games that they shouldn’t, handing big minutes to players both young and old, and making the Magic’s home arena a hellscape for those who played in Charlotte or Miami the night before. This is a good thing. For two years it will be a great thing, and then it will be time to move on. The Magic need to have the contract terms in place for such a dismissal, and their eye on the next guy. The Jim Boylan jokes might be too easy for such a good basketball man, but they’re not inaccurate: Orlando can’t afford to waste half an interim season (usually pitched the year after Skiles’ team gives a championship contender all it can handle in the first round of the playoffs) while eating one or two years’ worth of coaching contract money. If we’re being too rude to both Skiles and the Magic, so be it. It’s up to Scott Skiles to prove us wrong about his past track record of work both good and bad, and it’s up to the Magic to be aware of what, exactly, you’re getting with this man. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops

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