Stephen Jackson on Scott Skiles: “He was more of a college coach.”

As things began to get away from the Bucks this season, Scott Skiles and Stephen Jackson clashed. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Much ado has been made of Stephen Jackson’s resurrection in San Antonio during the playoffs. He’s averaging 7.2 points on 50% shooting in 20 minutes per game. A stark contrast to the brutal numbers he produced while languishing in Milwaukee earlier this season. A relationship that started with what seemed like so much potential, with so many good feelings on both sides, burned out in just over a months time in Milwaukee.

In yet another terrific piece at Grantland by Jonathan Abrams (this guy is one of the top five basketball writers out there right now, always amazing stuff from him), Jackson speaks on his time with Scott Skiles and the Milwaukee Bucks.

“To me, he was more of a college coach,” Jackson said of Skiles. “Me, personally, I need a coach that I can respect, that’s proven in this league and doesn’t mind taking advice from his players. When you have a great coach like Gregg Popovich, who asks about our opinion and cares about how we feel and what we think and what goes on off the court and at home, it’s easy to play for those guys because you know they genuinely care. He was a young coach, a coach that really hasn’t proven himself in this league as far as winning, so I saw a lot of things that I didn’t agree with that he was doing and we were losing at the time, so we never could work together.”

According to Abrams, Skiles, when given the opportunity to respond, simply said he is “happy for Stephen” and that he “respected him as a competitor.”

I find myself looking to take shots at Jackson every so often. I’m bitter and sullen about what went down in Milwaukee. But when I take my shots, they’re usually half-hearted. I can’t find much to back them up with. Yeah, he struggled and it seemed like he was a bad influence on Brandon Jennings for a while, but I just can’t bring myself to blame him for everything. It really didn’t seem like Skiles had much give with him. My access to Scott Skiles’ brain and time not spent with the media is zero, but what I’ve gathered about him doesn’t seem like a great fit for Jackson.

He’s not a nurturer. And while you may think that Gregg Popovich isn’t either, it’s clear that Pop can walk the line between coach and psychiatrist with some degree of expertise. He wouldn’t have been as successful as he has been if he couldn’t. Jackson needs a coach that’s going to listen to him and engage him. Skiles has never seemed the type. Skiles is by all accounts a very fair man – it’s always been said that he treats every guy on the team the same way.

Stephen Jackson needs more than that. He needs the coach’s ear. He needs to be heard and to be valued.

Hindsight is 20/20 and tells us that this relationship was doomed before it ever got off the ground. The two are both too proud and neither flinched when things started to take a turn for the worse in January. Whether that’s something Skiles will take into mind going forward and whether it will change how he deals with players in the future is a mystery, but I get the feeling that as long as Skiles is the Bucks coach, it might make an impact on just what sort of players they’ll target.

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Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog

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  1. Come on, man. Jackson thought he was still a star, couldn’t deal with getting old overnight and only accepted a supporting role because he was humbled. 
    We get that you hate Skiles, but at least be a journalist and tell the story of why Jackson is speaking out.

  2. Everyone that reads my responses to articles knows how much i dislike Jackson, but I am not going to dismiss these comments. I do believe that Scottie stonewalls people and players sometimes and I do believe that Jack(ass)son does probably have a bevvy of useful info in that thick skull. That being said those quotes are from a guy who went into the stands to punch fans and discharged a firearm in public

    • BrianShetrompf

       @JustinNixon I tend to agree with you on this post… However I am curious as to why…if Jackson is telling the truth about him trying to teach Skiles about things what exactly that could of been…his first interview was he couldn’t wait until he got into an argument with Skiles that to me was an alarming thing he said and when he got that argument he demanded a trade seems too convenient in my books sorry for the rant :/

      •  @BrianShetrompf I was walking that fence of giving Jackson too much credit, but my main point was more about Skiles not accepting outside advice that may help him advance as a coach/teacher..seems to be a disconnect between him and young players.. but hey he’s old school and we can all be sure that the information from Jack wasn’t delivered with the sweetness of saccharin

  3. Interesting, it’s not every story that has all the comments (so far) on Skiles’ side (mostly)…..

  4. I love Skiles and I love Jack, I was very upset that the situation did not work out but Jeremy makes a good point in that we probably should have known it was doomed to fail from the start. Jack is an emotional guy and Skiles is not. He seems to be all work no play and runs a very tight ship. Scott Skiles could really give a *expletive* less about what you as a player think because bottom line it is his team. I respect coaches that have that mentality Bob Knight for example is one of the best, but Skiles is only getting mediocre production from this team his way obviously is not working.
    If I could have any player as my teammate in the NBA I would want it to be Jack because I know that no matter what he’s got my back. If I could have any coach I’d probably pick Skiles because he forces you to play 100% every night and if you don’t then you don’t play, and although at times it’s frustrating as a fan, you have to respect that as a man.

  5. PattiRafalskiDavison

    “In some crazy sort of way, if I died helping a teammate or a friend or someone that I love, I think I could live with it.”  Stephen Jackson

  6. Stephen spent one mysterious season at a community college in El Dorado, Kansas, which is really cool because it’s so close to Auntie Em and Uncle Henry’s farm.  Among other things, there is a bit of a credibility gap to his statement about Scott.
    In the playoffs, he averaged 5.3pts/19min in wins and 15.8pts/ 26.5min in losses.  Correlation does not necessarily mean causation, right?