Scott Skiles Has Resigned as the Orlando Magic’s Head Coach, Wait What!?

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According to Orlando Magic and NBA great writer Josh Robbins, Magic head coach Scott Skiles has resigned from his position this morning.

WHAT!?

Skiles, a longtime coach in the NBA with stops in Phoenix, Chicago, and Milwaukee, led the Magic to a 35-47 record this season, a full ten games better than the year before. Now, after only one season in Orlando, he’s gone.

Few, if any, saw this coming. The Magic are considered to be amongst the leagues top young teams, with a core consisting of the emerging Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Elfrid Payton, and Victor Oladipo that have an average age of just 21-years-old. With just one year under Skiles, the team was thought to be gelling together nicely and looked to be a threat for an eight seed in the Eastern Conference next season. Now, they don’t have a head coach.

If Robbins is right about a disconnect between Skiles and General Manager Rob Hennigan, it can likely be traced back to the deal that sent Tobias Harris to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Brandon Jennings.

Harris was seen as a major building block for the Magic as the rare small forward who could seemingly do it all. His career 33 percent shooting mark from behind the arc isn’t anything to write home about, but he managed to knock down 38 percent of his three-point attempts in Detroit this year once being traded. The thought of the 6-foot 9-inch Harris being able to consistently shoot will scare defenses senseless, as his considerable size already has allowed him to shoot over 50 percent on two-point field goals during his five year career thus far.

If Harris has tremendous upside, then Jennings has the complete opposite.

While he’s been a solid scorer throughout his seven year career, Jennings was coming off of a torn achilles when the trade was made and he never really managed to turn it on in Orlando, shooting just 37 percent while averaging 7.0 PPG in just 18.1 minutes a night. If he recovers the explosiveness he seems to have lost to the achilles injury, Jennings can be as prolific a scorer as anyone. If not, the Magic traded away a great piece for next to nothing.

The real fear for Orlando at this point is how the team will react to Skiles leaving and so far, it isn’t pretty.

Fournier’s anger may just be because he accidentally left his leftover Chinese food in the microwave too long and burnt his tongue, but it’s likely due to him losing the coach that he truly blossomed under. Fournier went from solid rotation player to genuine threat this year, dropping 15.4 PPG on 46 percent shooting, both of which are improvements from the previous year.

With a variety of excellent coaches on the market, including Frank Vogel and Dave Joerger, Orlando will have plenty of options to fill their coaching vacancy. This is a talented and young roster, but obvious question marks surroundthe teams front office and their communication with the head coach.

If you’re Vogel, Joerger, or even someone like David Blatt, are you willing to risk walking into a toxic environment just to coach a nice group of players?

For the top tier of coaches, that’s the exact question they’ll be asking themselves.

 

 

 

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