In January, the Bucks fired Scott Skiles after a 16-16 start. News later came out that Skiles never wanted to coach the team in 2012-13 anyways. The Bucks elevated longtime Skiles assistant Jim Boylan to become the caretaker interim coach. In other words, the Bucks basically conceded the season: caretaker interim coaches rarely inspire their teams to greatness.
In February, the Bucks gave up a nice asset -- Tobias Harris -- to get J.J. Redick. Redick will be a free agent at the end of the season, so he was essentially a rental for the stretch run. So, we have a mostly uninspiring caretaker coach leading a team not competitive within the top two tiers in the East taking on a rental. (Unsurprisingly, the Bucks finished 22-28 under Boylan.)
And now Boylan isn't even playing Redick, a player acquired specifically to produce this season since, you know, there's a strong possibility he won't be back next season.
After playing decent minutes for the Bucks in the regular season -- more than 28 per game off the bench -- Redick is a no-show through two games against the Heat. Like, literally a no-show: Boylan played him less than eight minutes on Tuesday. He's only the team's best shooter, you know.
Don't cry for J.J. -- his record is pretty strong, and he'll get paid this summer. Just feel sorry for the Bucks fans who
1. have to watch their team's coach seriously handicap a squad already obscenely overmatched, and
2. get to watch Tobias Harris do things in a different city for the foreseeable future.
Harris blew up when he escaped Skiles and Boylan: he averaged 17 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in Orlando. His per-minute and per-game numbers improved, and his advanced stats profile looks much better. He may never be more than a solid starter or sixth man, but Milwaukee is about two losses from having gotten nothing but Gustavo Ayon's 13 ho-hum minutes per night for him.
This is what happens when you spend $60 million plus on a roster of players and as little as possible on a coach. If Skiles didn't want to run a team starring Monta Ellis, don't make him. Find a new coach in the offseason. And once it becomes apparent Skiles is miserable, don't give the job to his right-hand man, a guy who ... unsuccessfully followed Skiles in a previous job, taking a solid roster right into the lottery. (That'd be the pre-Vinny Del Negro Bulls.) It was early January. You can go out and find a promising assistant coach from another team or a coaching free agent. The Grizzlies did that years ago with Lionel Hollins. The Nuggets did it long ago with George Karl. Even the Lakers pulled it off, albeit very early in the season.
Again, the Bucks probably wouldn't have been competitive in the East in any scenario, though a better coach could have coaxed the team into the No. 7 seed and maybe even that whole 4-5-6 mix, all of which provide a more reasonable chance than a best-of-7 with the Miami Heat does. The Bucks roster, while interesting, isn't a filet mignon. It's a solid ham.
And like that filet mignon, you don't cook a good ham in the microwave. That's essentially what the Bucks have done: taken some good ingredients and trusted them to a chef who is going to use the microwave.
Good luck trying to choke it down, Milwaukee.