- Scott Skiles didn't get the highest marks as a communicator in Chicago and Phoenix, but he certainly sounds like someone who's working to change that in Milwaukee. Tom Enlund writes that Skiles has been reaching out to his new players this summer, an opportunity he didn't have at his previous gigs where he took over during the season. And as someone who managed to watch 79 often miserable games last year, I take some solace in knowing that the Bucks realize just how bad they were:
"The guys are disappointed," said Skiles. "Guys are individually disappointed in themselves and they were disappointed in the way they played collectively. That’s the common theme. All the guys feel like the team underachieved and they were disappointed about it.The common line used in analyzing the Skiles hiring was that he'd instantly make the Bucks better, but he didn't have the temperament for the long haul. His style would wear on guys. His "act" would get stale. But the more I hear from Skiles, the more I wonder if Milwaukee might be the place where he puts it all together.
"But some of the guys I talked to two weeks after the season was over so it’s kind of unfair. I’ve got to let some time pass here and then as the summer goes on reach back and touch base with guys and try to continue to communicate with them."
In his opening press conference he stated his belief that he was better in Chicago than Phoenix and expected to be better in Milwaukee than he was in Chicago, and improving his communication skills seemed an obvious place to start. Well, it seems like he got the memo. He hasn't coached a game yet for the Bucks so it's easy to be overly optimistic, but considering that the other four Central division teams have Mike Brown, Jim O'Brien, Michael Curry and Vinny Del Negro running the show, Bucks fans should feel especially thrilled to have Skiles on their sideline.
- If you'd like to know more about new Bucks' director of scouting Billy McKinney, just head over to his official website. Read about his interesting trip from Northwestern to the NBA, his experience as an executive with the Bulls, Wolves and Pistons, and see why John Hammond is calling him "Graybeard."
- Yesterday I linked to a DX interview with Danilo Gallinari where he was a bit standoffish when asked if he would definitely be in the NBA next year. Today Ian Thomsen writes that Gallinari could opt to stay in Milan if he doesn't like who picks him on June 26. That's in contrast to Yi Jianlian, who was under a huge amount of pressure to gain NBA experience before the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
According to several league sources, Danilo Gallinari is putting out word that he would like to be drafted by a franchise in the greater New York area, among a few other preferred teams. It was explained to me this way: If he isn't a top five pick and he winds up being drafted by, say, the Charlotte Bobcats, he may decide to remain the next year or two in Italy with his current club, Armani Jeans Milan. Mr. Giorgio Armani himself is prepared to make Gallinari feel very wanted with salary and other commercial opportunities, not to mention a club that hopes to move up in the Euroleague next year.Perhaps as a result, Thomsen has the Bucks passing on both Gallinari in favor of Anthony Randolph. Interestingly, he pegs the Bucks to pass on Kevin Love, who I've been guessing will be gone by the time the Bucks pick anyway. And if he is available...well, as much as the Bucks might like Yi, Love might be too good to pass up. As for Gallinari, I don't hate him as much as many Bucks fans seemingly do--his productivity in Italy suggests he's too skilled and smart to be a bust--but I'd be lying if I said I was rooting to hear his name called at number eight.
- Speaking of Love, there's no word yet on if/when he works out for the Bucks, but check out Beyond the Arc's take on Love's recent workout in Memphis. Chris Herrington was generally very impressed, but still has questions.
If he were three inches taller, he might be Tim Duncan. But he’s not. At the worst, I think Love will be a bigger, better Shane Battier — an elite role player who helps you win. He will not be a bust. But does he really have the upside you want at #5?