We’ll eventually learn more about Scott Skiles’s abrupt resignation as the head coach of the Orlando Magic.
A press conference later on Thursday might tell us something. Subsequent reportage will unearth more details. In time, we should be able to fill in at least some of the blank spaces created by this shocking move. However, we might not understand everything which needs to be understood in this case. Some decisions exist beyond the ability of human beings to fully comprehend.
While the NBA community tries to apprehend the why of Skiles’s choice — the motivation behind the move — the what of this choice, its central substance, is clear.
We’ll speculate about Skiles’ successor in a separate piece, but for now, let’s simply establish one point of certainty in the immediate aftermath of this Magic thunderbolt: Scott Skiles will not be an NBA head coach ever again.
First off, consider Skiles’s coaching resume. Those in the industry already knew this, but for anyone who might have known him only as the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks before his arrival in Orlando, Skiles quickly burned through organizations. He wore out players and executives. He improved teams everywhere he went, but in Phoenix and Chicago — before Milwaukee and Orlando — he didn’t last five full seasons. Skiles obviously failed to keep the pilot light on for his players, but instructively, he couldn’t refill his own tank after three or four seasons.
That last notion carries weight and relevance on Thursday morning.
This piece — if you’re reading it at a later point in time — was written before the Magic’s press conference on Thursday. In the absence of a disclosure about Skiles’s personal health (or something of that nature), we are left to conclude that he abandoned the Magic because of professional dissatisfactions. If that indeed turns out to be the case, it’s reasonable to say that Skiles fully emptied the fuel tank of his coaching career.
Burnout? Possibly. Frustration with his situation? Probably.
A desire to never be an NBA head coach in the future? Certainly — again, if health wasn’t the reason for this decision.
The fact that Skiles has now completed a tenure with a fourth separate NBA organization (to the extent that one can “complete” a single-year tenure) puts too many negative marks in his column, if he still harbors legitimate aspirations of being an NBA head coach. There’s now a bigger, more glaring red flag for any general manager who needs to fill a future coaching vacancy.
At least in Phoenix, Chicago and Milwaukee, Skiles spent a minimum of three seasons trying to push up the mountain in search of success. This episode in Orlando represents an early bailout, the kind of plot twist that should rightly terrify NBA organizations in search of their next head coach.
We don’t know a lot about this situation before Thursday’s press conference. We might soon know everything there is to know about this decision… but we shouldn’t count on being able to understand this move in its totality.
One thing we can know, however: Scott Skiles had enough of being an NBA head coach. The Orlando Magic must deal with the effects of that desire.