Monday, December 24, 2007

Skiles bounced

Only two things were going to bring me out of a 6-month NBA slumber: The Bulls imploding or Kobe being traded.

Since the latter is never going to happen and the former didn't seem real to me, especially since I've watched the Bulls get off to slow starts since Michael Jordan left, I guess I didn't feel the need to write.

But now, on Christmas Eve, the great John Paxson changed that for me.

Paxson fired Skiles today.

That's right. Today.


I guess it was Skiles who made no improvements to a roster that desperately still needs either a consistent low-post scorer (no, Aaron Gray doesn't count) or a go-to scorer who can take over a game late.

I guess it was Skiles who drafted Joakim Noah even though he does the same things as a healthy Ben Wallace.

I guess it was Skiles who signed Wallace to an absurd $60 million contract when everyone could see Wallace's numbers were declining each season.

I guess it was Skiles who let Tyson Chandler go when Wallace was signed, only to watch Chandler emerge as the player everyone hoped he would be once he arrived in New Orleans.

I guess it was Skiles who couldn't find a way to bring Pau Gasol, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant or anyone else to Chicago. And I guess it was Skiles who ruined Luol Deng and Ben Gordon by constantly involving them in trade rumors over the last two years.

Come to think of it, most of those things fall on the GM's shoulders.

Skiles isn't blame free in all of this.

Skiles can be blamed for a crappy offense, for being a red-ass who the players seem to have predictably tuned out, and for not really getting behind Tyrus Thomas this year.

But Skiles can't be blamed for the players' inability to shoot, for their sudden lack of heart and for the dearth of roster ineptitude his yet-to-be named replacement will inherit.

That falls on the players that John Paxson has assembled.

So, I'll ask again, when is John Paxson going to take the blame for what he has created in Chicago?

The honeymoon is clearly over now. Skiles is gone. Deng and Gordon could be next, and the team that Pax built is 9-16.

Skiles was certainly a part of the problem this season, but we're about to find out how much of this mess really was Scott Skiles fault. Maybe the Bulls only solved half of their problems this morning. Worse, they may have axed the wrong part of the problem.

Time will tell. Now, I'm going back on hiatus. Wake me when the playoffs start.