Blame Game: Cut Isiah Thomas and Scott Skiles Some Slack

Mike WoodsCorrespondent INovember 26, 2007

IconImagine for a second that you're a supervisor on the job and one of your employees fails to perform up to his potential.

Now imagine yourself getting the boot for that employee's effort (or lack thereof).

How fair is that?

By the same token, with the Knicks and Bulls continuing to struggle, how fair is it to point the finger directly at coaches and management?

Isiah Thomas is reportedly hanging by a thread—and Scott Skiles is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Consider how stressful coaching can be when a team is expected to win NOW.

The game is all about wins and loses—those are the only criteria that matter when evaluation time roles around.

How do you explain your employees' refusal to work hard, listen, and apply what's been taught to them?

As a coach, your hands are tied behind your back. The control you thought you had actually belongs to the players.

In the "real world," you can't come into the office and decide to kick your feet up and relax. The same should go for any athlete being paid a salary to perform.

Many fans argue that a good coach should get the best out of his players—and thus that any coach deserves the blame if those players don't perform as expected.

This is true—but only when the players are willing to apply themselves...which seems to be the problem in New York and Chicago. 

Maybe the lack of motivation has something to do with today's huge player salaries.

Consider this: Do you think a player with a fat deal would work as hard as a player with nothing to lose and everything to prove?

It's rare to find a player in the mold of a Kevin Garnett or Tim Duncan—a guy who's accomplished everything but continues to work as hard as a rookie.

Can the security of a big salary or the recognition of a big name impact a player's play on the court?

I believe it can—and yet coaches are expected to make lemonade out of sour lemons.

Maybe NBA GMs should start treating basketball like a regular nine-to-five job. Fire the least productive employees—or in this case, trade them.

In any event, the responsibility for losing should fall upon both coaches and the players. Players should be prepared to give 48 minutes every game, and the coach should prepare them to give it.

That said, it seems inevitable that players—and their effort level—will continue to dictate coaches' job security.

Or perhaps we should just do away with the word security altogether—how secure is your job in the hands of someone else?