- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- Joakim Noah wasn't exactly surprised when he found out that Scott Skiles was no longer coaching the Milwaukee Bucks. After watching Skiles flame out in Chicago during his rookie season, Noah learned to expect the unexpected when it came to the fiery former guard.
"It's not the first time I've seen that," he said after Tuesday's practice.
While the Bulls weren't aware of the circumstances surrounding Skiles' departure, head coach Tom Thibodeau was disappointed that his former pupil is now without a job.
"It's unfortunate," Thibodeau said. "I know him, I coached him, I think he's a great coach and I'm sure he'll do well in the end. He's proven to be a great coach in this league. You hate to see it, you hate to see anyone leave during the middle of the season, but I guess that's the nature of the business. I'm sure he'll do well."
Some fans worry Thibodeau's voice, like Skiles', will eventually wear on his team, but the veteran coach doesn't put much stock in that perception.
"The way I measure him [is] whoever he has he gets the most out of," Thibodeau said. "I know what it's like to coach against him, I've done it for a number of years, some as an assistant, some as a head coach. Sometimes it's the personnel, too, that changes over time. I think if you have serious-minded players, Scott's going to be a great coach with them. He's proven that. I don't buy all that other stuff."
Neither does new Bucks interim head coach Jim Boylan. Boylan, who was the interim coach for the Bulls after Skiles was fired five years ago, says he believes Skiles will coach again.
"I just think Scott's meant to be a coach and he loves it," Boylan said before Wednesday night's game. "There's teams out there that can use a guy that can come in and give them some structure just like the past teams that he's coached in Phoenix, here and in Milwaukee. Teams that have been struggling a little bit and need someone to come in and really captain the ship and that's what Scott does, so I'm sure that there's teams out there looking at that situation and saying, 'We need a guy like that to come in here and get us moving in the right direction,' so I believe he'll be coaching again soon."
As for Boylan, he is just happily enjoying the responsibility he has been given. He feels as if he has learned a lot since his experience coaching the Bulls five years ago.
"My approach is totally different than it was five years ago," Boylan said. "I'm more comfortable in this position. After reflecting on it for a while, I felt like I was too concerned, when I was coaching in Chicago, of trying to hang on to the job. I was too focused in on the specific moment as opposed to kind of seeing the big picture and trying to work with that. So now I told the guys the other day I'm just going to have fun with this. Coach as well as I can coach, motivate these guys, and that's what I'm going to do."
That's the type of attitude Noah can appreciate. He admitted that he enjoyed his time with Boylan because the career assistant gave him an extended chance to play during his rookie season. Noah still respects Skiles, but he acknowledged that he still thinks about all the drama surrounding his rookie season, which included a suspension handed down by his teammates and a lack of playing time.
"I think about it sometimes," Noah said. "How I was almost out of the league. Almost, basically. I wasn't [getting] any playing time. I remember coming into the game a few times and getting booed at the UC. You can't make this stuff up. That's really what happened. It was tough. There were a lot of things going on at that time that I wasn't used to ... a lot of learning experiences that year."