Reunited and it feels so good.
He brings 13 seasons of coaching experience to the young Magic team, including stints with the Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks.The Magic are hoping this nod to the team’s history will ignite its young but talented core. The Magic were looking for coaching experience and toughness in their new hire, a noted difference between previous head coach Jacque Vaughn.
1. Skiles Set NBA Record for 30 Assists in One Game
In 1990, Skiles had 30 assists against the Denver Nuggets setting an NBA record for most assists in one game. “The game was like ones I played out on the asphalt when I was growing up. Denver was playing wild and crazy, and we were taking advantage of that by scoring on easy drives and dunks. It was like a layup drill at times,” Skiles noted in an article he wrote for the Orlando Magic. In the YouTube clip above, you can watch all 30 assist in just about 3 minutes.
The record remains to this day. Since the 1990’s, Rajon Rondo is the most recent player to come closest to matching the record with 24 assists in 2010.
2. Scott Skiles Once Fought Shaq
Legend has it that Scott Skiles and Shaquille O’Neal once got into an altercation when they were both teammates with the Magic. Apparently, the incident happened during a practice in Los Angeles. “He swung, but I ducked under it and ended up in kind of a headlock,” Skiles recalled the incident in an interview with ESPN.
This story shows the grit that Skiles possessed as a player and can be seen in his coaching style as well. At 6’1″ and 180 pounds Skiles was severely smaller than the “Big Fella”. However, Skiles has never been one to shy away from confrontation.
Despite the conflict, the two seem to respect each other. Skiles recalled to ESPN that his memories of his playing experience with Shaq were “100 percent positive.”
If only camera phones were around in the 90’s.
3. Skiles Has Been Fired From Every Coaching Job He Has Ever Had
Scott Skiles has coached for three previous teams and all ended the same way. The Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks all fired Skiles. Skiles has a career coaching record of 443-433, just slightly above .500. It is extremely rare in the current NBA system for a coach to get four chances at being a head coach especially at age 51.
Certainly, the Orlando Magic’s ownership being familiar with him from his playing days contributed to the coach getting another opportunity as Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski has suggested. What has been the issue with his prior coaching stops?
Some have suggested that Skiles has failed to get along with many of his players. Which players more specifically? According to Yahoo, players like Jason Kidd, Eddy Curry and Tyrus Thomas. What can Magic fans expect the relationship to be with players such as Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton? Time will tell.
4. Skiles Lived in a $1.475 Mansion
While coaching for the Milwaukee Bucks, Skiles apparently lived in quite the pad. The house was valued at $1.475 million. The 4,732 square-foot house reportedly included 4 fireplaces, a gameroom, private gym and a master bedroom with 3 walk-in closets.
We will wait to see just how much the 4 year contract is worth and what his Orlando home will look like. Hopefully, for Magic fans he can settle down in it longer than he was able to in Milwaukee.
5. Scott Skiles Was Traded so Penny Hardaway Could Play More
For Magic fans, it all goes back to Penny and Shaq. In Grantland’s recent extensive piece detailing the successful Magic teams of the 1990’s, we learned that Scott Skiles was traded from the Magic due in large part to Penny Hardaway. “They tried it for one year with Scott Skiles and Penny. You couldn’t have both. Penny was hardheaded back then. I mean, when Penny was fresh out of college, you couldn’t tell him nothing. Skiles was tough as nails and the last thing he wanted to deal with was a rookie trying to take his position. Yeah, it would have been nice, but it wasn’t going to last,” former Magic player Donald Royal told Grantland.
One former Magic teammate believes the trade was a mistake noting that Skiles would have allowed the Magic to win the 1995 Finals against the Houston Rockets. “I honestly believe, and no one else would probably say this with me, but I honestly believe that if we had Scott Skiles on that team, playing against Houston, we win easily,” Anthony Bowie told Grantland.
Magic fans hope that Skiles can take them back to the NBA Finals. This time as a coach.