Magic players will have to earn their minutes under new coach Scott Skiles, writes Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Skiles, who was hired by the team Friday, earned a tough-guy reputation during his 10 years as a player in the NBA, and he brings that same philosophy into coaching. “Under the umbrella of developing guys comes a bunch of different things,” Skiles said. “Accountability is one of them. You’re short-changing guys if you don’t think that you can challenge them and that they’ll rise to a challenge.” One the challenges Skiles issued during his first press conference was for Orlando to finish in the top five in defensive efficiency next season. The Magic ranked 25th this year.
There’s much more from Central Florida:
- Skiles is doing his best to quell rumors that there are problems between him and Tobias Harris, who will likely become a restricted free agent in July. Skiles tells Robbins (Twitter link) that he has stayed in touch with Harris, whom he coached in Milwaukee, and their relationship is strong.
- GM Rob Hennigan held face-to-face interviews with three other candidates before hiring Skiles, Robbins writes in a separate story. They were former Warriors coach Mark Jackson, Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg and Clippers assistant Mike Woodson, who has served as head coach of the Hawks and Knicks. “I truly wanted this to be an objective decision about his coaching ability,” CEO Alex Martins said of the hiring process. “I didn’t want my personal past with Scott and my experience with him of having been a player here and our relationship to enter into that.”
- Skiles’ record of success with young teams in Phoenix, Chicago and Milwaukee appealed to the Magic, according to John Denton of nba.com. Skiles said he expects players to be on time, play hard and play to win, and he addressed his hard-nosed reputation. “I won’t deny that there have been a handful of times when I may have butted heads with a guy,” Skiles said. “I’m never looking for confrontation, but I’m not afraid of it.”