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Skiles Deserves Consideration

Jamie Wianecki

As the Oklahoma City Thunder are cruising, winning 9 of their last 11 games and holding the six seed in the superior Western Conference, it is apparent head coach Scott Brooks has the NBA Coach of the Year all but locked up. Charlotte's Larry Brown, Portland's Nate McMillan, and Memphis's Lionel Hollins are also earning a lot of consideration. But the coach who isn't receiving much consideration is Bucks' head coach Scott Skiles. He has met the requirements to earn at least some talk -- improvement from last season, team makes playoffs (still pending) and overcoming obstacles, such as injuries. The Bucks are on pace to surpass last season's 34 win season, despite the departure of last season's top three scorers, Richard Jefferson, Ramon Sessions, and Charlie Villanueva to San Antonio, Minnesota, and Detroit, respectively. Sessions was not only the third leading scorer on the team, but he was also the team leader in assists; meanwhile, the second leading scorer, Villanueva was also the team leader in rebounds. This season's success is contributed by Rookie of the Year candidate, Brandon Jennings, who leads the team with 16.4 points per game and 6.1 assists per game (12th in the NBA, 1st among rookies). The Bucks are the only team in the playoff hunt (currently holding the 7th seed in the East) that the scoring leader is a rookie -- the only other team is the 18-win Kings, led by Tyreke Evans. The Bucks' playoff push is getting stronger; they've won their last five games, are only 2.5 games out of the fifth seed, and are only 7.5 games out of the third seed.

Something Nate McMillan has received praise for is his team's winnings despite injuries to important players, such as Jeol Przybilla, Greg Oden, Brandon Roy, and most recently Marcus Camby. Early in the season, the Bucks were teased when Michael Redd -- who has a 20.3 point per game career average -- played in 18 games until tearing both his ACL and MCL in his left knee. Andrew Bogut, who is averaging career bests 16.2 points per game and 10.5 rebounds per game, has also missed six games due to injury.

Skiles and General Manager John Hammond have done a very good job with the Bucks this season, not overspending on Sessions and Villanueva, and the recent acquisition of John Salmons from Chicago, putting the Bucks in position to play in the post-season. Although Brooks will win the NBA's Coach of the Year -- deservedly so winning 33 games this year already compared to 23 wins all of last year -- Scott Skiles deserves to be in the conversation by leading the Bucks into the playoffs.


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