Scott Skiles

Scott Allen Skiles (born March 5, 1964) is an American basketball coach and former player. He currently is the head coach of the Orlando Magic. He also coached the Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls, and Milwaukee Bucks. A first-round draft pick out of Michigan State University, Skiles played ten seasons as a point guard in the NBA. He holds the NBA record for assists in one game with 30, set in his fifth season in the league and second with Orlando, in which he also earned the 1990–91 NBA Most Improved Player Award.

The Milwaukee Bucks made Skiles the 22nd selection of the 1986 NBA Draft. In ten seasons, he played for the Bucks (1986–87), Indiana Pacers (1987–89), Orlando Magic (1989–94), Washington Bullets (1994–95), and Philadelphia 76ers (1995–96).

With the Indiana Pacers the next season Skiles averaged even fewer minutes but played in more games, increasing his scoring marginally to 4.4 points and posting the same 3.5 assists per game in 50 games, just two of them starts. He played in 80 games in 1988-89, starting just 13 and averaging 6.8 points and 4.9 assists in slightly under 20 minutes a game.

In 1989 Skiles was selected by the newly formed Orlando Magic in the NBA expansion draft. Mainly a backup point guard, he scored 7.7 points and posted 4.8 assists in 20.9 minutes per game in 70 games, 48 off the bench. In 1990-91 he transitioned to a starting role at the position, jumping to a career high 17.2 points and improved 8.4 assists in 34.4 minutes over 79 games and 66 starts. The season was highlighted on December 30, 1990, when Skiles racked up 30 assists in Orlando’s 155-116 victory over the Denver Nuggets at Orlando Arena, breaking Kevin Porter’s NBA single-game assists record (29). His well more than doubling scoring and nearly doubling his assists marks from the previous year earned him the NBA Most Improved Player Award.

As a Washington Bullets in 1994-95 Skiles’ minutes were back up to 33.5 per game in just 62 games, all starts, and improvements were shown in virtually every statistical category, though points per game only rose to 13.0 and assists to 7.3. It was one and out in D.C., with Skiles moving on to the Philadelphia 76ers in his final NBA season in 1995-96. Appearing in only 10 games Skiles stats backslid again, with only 6.3 points and 3.8 assists in 23.6 minutes per game over 9 starts.

Nursing a serious shoulder injury in 1996, Skiles left the U.S. for the Greek League, joining PAOK in Thessaloniki. Expectations were high for the new arrival from the NBA, but midway through the season injuries and contract problems with key players threatened the season for both PAOK and French coach Michel Gomez. Still struggling with injury himself, and increasingly at odds with Gomez, Skiles asked to be released from his contract. Instead, president Lakis Alexopoulos fired Gomez and offered Skiles the job. Despite lacking three of their top players due to injury, Skiles led PAOK to a winning record as coach in the remainder of the ’96-’97 season, and an unexpected 3rd place finish in the Greek League, thus assuring a qualification to the following year’s Euroleague.

Skiles returned to the NBA for the 1997-1998 season as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns, being elevated to head coach in 1999.

Under Skiles Phoenix compiled a .595 Won-Loss record and made the playoffs in two of his three years as head coach, including a first-round win over the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs in 2000.

After a two-year absence from the game, Skiles came to the Chicago Bulls as head coach in 2003. He immediately focused on improving the young Bulls’ defense and developing greater consistency in a talented but underachieving team. In the first full year under his direction, Chicago limited its opposition to an NBA-best .422 field goal percentage and held their opponents to a franchise record and league high 26 straight games below 100 points. An NBA best 13-3 mark in January 2005 earned Skiles the NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honor.

On April 21, 2008, a report surfaced that Skiles verbally agreed to become the new head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. Proved true, he led the Bucks to a 34-48 record in the 2008-2009 season. Injuries to key players Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut marred the season, but Skiles was given a show of support by general manager John Hammond. Skiles’ five-year stint in Milwaukee ended on January 8, 2013, when he and the Bucks mutually agreed to part ways.

On May 29, 2015, former team point guard Skiles joined the Orlando Magic as the franchise’s 12th head coach.


Career highlights and awards
NBA Most Improved Player (1991)

Men’s basketball Competitor for United States
FIBA U19 World Championship
Gold medal – first place 1983 Palma de Mallorca National team