If I Inflict the Pain Then, Baby, Only I Can Comfort You
"Kirk, do you like movies about gladiators?"
Scott Skiles could have been many things. I mean, with that court vision, that sense of floor leadership, that never-quit attitude? And with that personality!? Sheeeeeeeit, String! He could have been a credit card collections agent, a Department of Corrections officer or maybe even a semi-professional animal torturer. He’s got that look, right?
Little known fact: Scott Skiles died during child birth. True story! But do you think he let that stop him? Fuck no! He was the first one there and the last one to leave, and before you knew it, all those hours in the maternity ward paid off and he brought himself back to life. Dreams are free, motherfucker.
So why would Scott, with life unfolding like a Choose Your Own Adventure tale before him, decide, after an admirable career working harder than everybody on seminal teams like the ‘88-’89 Pacers (28-54! Fuck you know about that!?) and the ‘94-‘95 Bullets (21-61! That’s 61-21 to a Dyslexic!), to try his hand at clipboard graffiti?
Shit, I’m just spitballing here…but I bet it’s because coaches are the only people who have ever given him any sense of affirmation in his entire life.And that’s why he sodomizes people’s careers.
Since before they sprout short and curlies, basketball players are basketball players. Boom. I just said that.
What that means is that when Brian Hill tells somebody to really buckle down and get a stop, or when Scott banshee-screams from the depths of his pained dwarf soul that the baby Bulls need to be fighting for every loose ball it is, even for young rookies, IT IS THE 802,135TH TIME THEY HAVE HEARD THAT BULLSHIT IN THEIR LIVES. At some point it just all starts to sound the fucking same!
"You want me to rotate?! Aw, shit! I’ve been out there half-heartedly wandering through life and thinking about the poetry of Frank O’Hara! No wonder the other team keeps scoring! Peace, God; now the shit is explained! I need to really get the shit out of my ears!"
Coaches only need to do a few things:
1) Call timeouts when you're getting dumped on.
2) Make a rotation and define people's roles.
3) Prepare the team for whoever the fuck they're up against.
This kind of hands-on, up-in-the-mix, aggro, micro-management, I-was-never-good-enough-for-dad-and-you'll-never-be-good-enough-for-me bullshit is just a waste of time, oxygen and cap room:
"B.G., do you see a midget anywhere around here? One that might be talking backwards? And is there an old woman holding a log that I'm not seeing? No, right? So I'm not dreaming. This is not Twin Peaks. Then could you tell me why the Grinch Who Stole My Contract Extension is putting hands on me?"
The fucking amazing thing about George Karl and Scott Skiles' attempts at "mind games" is they're fucking awful at it! My 8th grade girlfriend was more of a puppetmaster than these d-bags! Has it ever worked!? Might there be a reason why the only player who actually likes Karl is Anthony fucking Mason?! When they look in the mirror what do they see?
Does Karl really think that threatening to bench 'Melo a day before LaLa gives birth is going to illicit some fundamental personality change in the dude?! HE'S A SLIGHTLY DOUGHY SWINGMAN WHO SCORES POINTS AND BECOMES JOHN WILKES BOOTH IN THE 4TH QUARTER. ALSO, WHEN YOU ARE SQUINTING OUT THE WINDOW OF AN ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY HE WILL BE SITTING ON A PILE OF NIKE MONEY, WEARING HIS NCAA RING. YOU WANT REBOUNDING? LOOK AT NENE! YOU WANT DEFENSE?...DOUG CHRISTIE AIN'T BUSY!
Same goes for Elbow Grease Skiles. When somebody asks you what Eddy Curry could do to improve his rebounding and you say, "Jump," you fucking play yourself. You might go home and rub one out to the clip of you saying it on the 2:00 AM Sportscenter, b ut that's all anyone is getting out of the whole excercise.
Wanna know why Josh Howard became Josh Fucking Howard? My guess is that Avery instilled in him a sense of self-belief. That's how these things work.
Of course there’s a flipside to all this. Some coaches are too forgiving, too willing to fall on their own spear. The opposite of Skiles would be someone like Andy Reid. If Brian Westbrook went railroading down the field, leaving all prospective tacklers to admire him from a distance, and then proceeded to stop short of the end zone, pull a piece out and go down like kid from The Last Boy Scout.
...you could bet your hedge fund that Reid would be in front of reporters 20 minutes later muttering,
"This one’s on me guys. I should have seen that Brian had some suicidal ideation and I have to be more aware of that. It's my responsibility as coach to make sure our players don't kill themselves on the field. I’ve got to manage that better.”
And then there's always Professor Jackson, gazing out into enlightenment somewhere on the horizon, making his team confront their own fears by not calling timeouts. That probably wouldn't work out to well if he was coaching the Grizz.
But check this horseshit out:
“Ben is as very good offensive player. Other areas of his game need a lot of work. It’s easy for anybody to see that. It’s not that he’s not a very good player for us or anything. He wants to be good, he says, in all aspects of the game. My job is to help him get where he wants to go.”1) Ben Gordon wins fucking games. 2) As someone who actually watches basketball from time to time can I just say I'VE HAD ENOUGH DEFENSE. You know who plays defense? Ben Wallace. You know who bricks lay-ups like a JV walk-on with vertigo? Ben Wallace. Skiles skull-fucked Tyson Chandler and now he's getting 15+ boards a night. Skiles ridiculed Eddy Curry as a lazy fat kid and now he's probably gonna become a dominant center. And when Skiles is coaching womens basketball at the Joan Didion Institute for the Criminally Insane, Ben Gordon will be POPPING TAGS. File all that next to Jason Kidd in his anthology of coaching achievments.
You know what? Enough. This, ultimately, is how Skiles is gonna be remembered in the Chi. It's all that needs to be said. You really only deserve half a bar: