Bucks miss playoffs; Skiles' future unclear
By CHRIS JENKINS
(AP) -- For the moment, Scott Skiles remains the Milwaukee Bucks' head coach.
Speaking to reporters at the Bucks' training facility Friday morning, Skiles said he will meet soon with Sen. Herb Kohl, the team's owner, to discuss a disappointing end to what had been a promising season after a blockbuster trade. Beyond that, Skiles wouldn't speculate on his future in Milwaukee.
It's also not entirely clear if Skiles necessarily wants to be back.
"I have a contract with the team," Skiles said. "This is not a great time, probably, to ask or answer that question. It's a disappointing season. I'm as responsible as anyone, probably more so, for the results of this season. I realize that. I would never run from something like that. I think I deserve, though, a few days to decompress before I get into detail about it."
Skiles is 146-166 in four seasons with the Bucks. He has a year left on his contract, which was extended in 2010.
Skiles led Milwaukee to a 46-win season and made the playoffs in 2009-2010, where the Bucks lost to the Atlanta Hawks. But the Bucks have missed the postseason two straight seasons since then.
Bucks general manager John Hammond also has a year remaining, although his standing in Milwaukee is considered more secure.
Hammond played a pivotal role in the biggest moment of the season, a trade that sent Andrew Bogut to Golden State for Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh. Bogut, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft, has struggled with various injuries throughout his career and may have needed a fresh start.
Pairing Ellis with Brandon Jennings has all the makings of an explosive backcourt, and Jennings said in the final week of the season that he thinks a full season of playing with Ellis can make the Bucks consistently dangerous on offense.
"Yeah, I feel that way, especially bringing Monta in, another scorer for us, a guy who can take over, especially with under five minutes to go in the game," Jennings said earlier this week. "The fact that we were scoring so high, a lot of our games were in the 100s."
Skiles believes a full training camp and exhibition season will help their chemistry.
"Monta, I've said many times, he's a good passer," Skiles said. "Brandon is learning; he's still learning to play without the ball in his hands. It's a lot easier to learn when you have other people out there passing the ball and the ball finds him again after he gives it up and things like that. But I thought they worked really well together."
After a rough beginning to the season that included a 0-8 start on the road, the Bucks were beginning to play well just before the trade. Then they went on a run, winning four straight at the beginning of April to run their record to .500 and making the playoffs look like a realistic possibility.
But the Bucks lost five of their last seven to miss the playoffs.
"After a few days, when I start looking at it, I'll also see some positives," Skiles said. "It's still not good enough. We should be playing tomorrow."
Although the end results were similar, the Bucks were a far different team than last season. Instead of struggling on offense and playing well on defense like they did in 2010-2011, the Bucks had few problems scoring points but had a hard time stopping anybody.
"We believe in trying to get stops, which we couldn't get; getting the ball off the board and being a good rebounding team, which we weren't; and pushing the ball up the floor and playing at a fast tempo," Skiles said. "Some of that is the guys that you have on the floor. We were able, kind of forced, to play small."
While Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Udoh are good defenders, the Bucks still need a big man who can consistently guard the rim.
"I think being undersized really had a lot to do with it," Jennings said earlier this week. "Not to say that our big men weren't doing the best job that they could, they were. It's just that we didn't have that true center like Bogut."
In all, Jennings acknowledged his frustration at falling just short of the playoffs for the second season in a row.
"We're right there, but we weren't able to capitalize on it," Jennings said. "So it's not like we're way at the bottom or anything, we're always like ninth or 10th. It's always like one or two games out. That's the most frustrating part."
Connect with AP Sports Writer Chris Jenkins: www.twitter.com/ByChrisJenkins
Updated April 27, 2012