Brandon Jennings, John Salmons, Carlos Delfino, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Andrew Bogut hardly looks like a playoff caliber starting lineup. However thanks to the job that Scott Skiles has done this season in Milwaukee that’s exactly what the Bucks are right now. When they step foot onto the court, it looks like they will be over-matched by a majority of their opponents. And despite having to deal with the loss of their best player, Michael Redd, for the season after playing just 18 games, the Bucks continue to roll. The Bucks have now won 10 of their last 13 games and have leapfrogged the Bobcats and the Heat and currently sit in the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference. Oklahoma City Head Coach Scott Brooks is more than likely the front runner for Coach of the Year in the NBA this season, but Skiles should start to get some votes too.
Scott Skiles joined WSSP in Milwaukee with the Big Show to talk about whether or not his team is overachieving this season, the play of Andrew Bogut recently, whether or not his team is getting caught in the hype of landing a potential playoff spot, and how John Salmons is fitting in after being traded from Chicago.
On whether or not the team is overachieving this season:
“I don’t know. I leave that for other people to judge. We’re pleased with the way that we’ve played lately. We’re starting to win on the road and before we started winning on the road, we were noticeably playing better on the road. Took Dallas to the wire, took Houston to the wire on the road and we obviously won in Miami. We could tell we had a nice trend developing. Now were actually winning some games. Even though we have more home games than road games left, if were gonna be serious about getting in, we knew we were gonna have to start taking care of that and we seem to be moving in the right direction.”
On keeping the recent success of his team in perspective:
“I don’t know what were gonna do down the stretch here. We appear to be getting better and I think we’re gonna continue to get better. I’m positive about the team. You do like to hear that and see that and our guys have kept things in perspective. We live in a world where doing very little sometimes gets great praise. And the same thing happens in reverse. If things aren’t going very well than people become negative. I think it’s important for athletes to keep things in perspective. We haven’t accomplished anything as a franchise in a long time and we’re in position right now. We’ve still got a long way to go, but if we just focus on getting better that’s a much nicer attitude to have right now than acting like we’ve done something.”
On the shooting woes of Brandon Jennings and whether or not it is bothering him:
“There’s no question that it’s bothering him. It has bothered him. We’re talking to him about it. Where you would get really concerned is if he wasn’t working at, if other parts of his game started to deteriorate, and things like started happening. That hasn’t been the case. He almost always has a good floor game out there; his defense has gotten better over the year, he’s trying to play to win out there and he’s working constantly on his shot. Teams have made some adjustments and a lot of young players have to figure out exactly where are my shots gonna come from in a game so I’m ready when they present themselves. Sometimes he’s a little bit caught off guard still and it just comes with experience.”
On how John Salmons is fitting into the team:
“When you get traded you’d like the schedule to be conducive to tossing in a practice every now and then. Our shootarounds are our practices right now. They’re kind of going through training camp on the fly right now. John is such an experienced player that we try to keep it simple when he’s out there. We’ve been playing through Bog’s (Andrew Bogut) a lot and getting into our pick and roll game and then giving John some touches in the post, as well as Jerry (Stackhouse) and we feel like he’s blending in nicely right now.”
On guys gaining playoff experience and the importance of it:
“I think the school of thought of let’s just get in the lottery again is flawed and it’s flawed factually. If you look at the lottery from the time there was a lottery, the lottery is a 50/50 proposition. There’s guys that have been lottery picks that have turned out to be All-Stars and there’s guys that don’t. That is no guarantee of success. Now if you hit it one year and you get LeBron James, than things are gonna pay off for ya. It’s invaluable. If you have Kirk Hinrich on the phone right now or Ben Gordon or Luol Deng, or Chris Duhon, (Andres) Nocioni, it’s an unbelievable experience. We want to talk to Brandon Jennings, Andrew Bogut, Luc Mbah a Moute and Ersan Ilyasova about hey this is what it’s gonna take to get in the playoffs and this is what you’re gonna have to do in the summer to get better if you wanna be a high level team, that’s great and they’re good guys and they’ll listen, but until they go through it, realize the way that the level of play raises up, there’s nothing like that. Then once they go through it, it’s amazing what happens to guys like that in the summer. They really get after the development of their game and they start making strides as a player.”