ST. FRANCIS - Scott Skiles can often be brutally critical in his assessments.

And, as he showed again Thursday, that includes an appraisal of his job as the Milwaukee Bucks head coach.

Skiles oversaw a team that finished with a woeful 35-47 record and a non-playoff appearance - an unexpected dropoff from last season when the Bucks went 46-36 and advanced to the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Skiles candidly admitted he was as much to blame for the Bucks' demise as anyone.

"I failed in my job description," Skiles said.

He then added, "I wasn't brought here to win 35 games."

Skiles didn't dwell on how he "failed" as a coach this season, but it's no secret he and some of his players had issues during the course of the season.

Some Bucks quietly complained about Skiles' poor communication skills and how he didn't keep them in the loop about their roles.

Some players also didn't particularly care for Skiles' direct, sometimes brusque criticism of their play. And others felt he was stubborn in his ways and needed to be more flexible.

Whatever the case, Skiles, unlike some of those players, isn't going anywhere. He is expected to return next season and he expects his entire coaching staff to be back as well.

The Journal Times recently reported that all of Skiles' assistant coaches - Jim Boylan, Kelvin Sampson, Bill Peterson and Anthony Goldwire - were in the final year of their contracts and unaware of their future with the organization.

Skiles wasn't so confident about the fates of his players, although he was evasive when asked if there would be any major changes.

"What's a major change?" Skiles asked.

When told it would be trading one of his starters, Skiles said, "Yeah, well, which starting lineup? Which starters are you referring to?"

It was then noted that it was the one that started the regular season, the one that consisted of center Andrew Bogut, power forward Drew Gooden, small forward Carlos Delfino, shooting guard John Salmons and point guard Brandon Jennings.

Skiles then said, "I didn't expect to go with any starting lineup. It was expected to be worked out by the guys' production of the exhibition season and things like that.

"But unfortunately, the injuries put a hold on that."

There's no doubt injuries severely impacted the Bucks' play this season. Bogut, unequivocally the team's best player, had back, elbow and migraine issues and missed 17 games.

Carlos Delfino, unquestionably the team's glue guy, missed 32 games, mainly because of a severe concussion.

Delfino also played the last couple of weeks with a badly bruised ribcage, one that forced him to take pain-killers before games and sleeping pills at night.

And point guard Brandon Jennings, the team's only true point guard, sat out 19 games after having foot surgery.

In all, the Bucks lost an insane 277 games to injuries. Skiles wound up using 23 different starting lineups, sixth-most in the league.

Only Washington (29), Sacramento (27), Toronto (25), Cleveland (24) and New Jersey (24) had more. All of them are headed to the Draft Lottery.

"It was tough to have a different starting five every couple of games," Bogut said. "We didn't really solidify our starting five the whole season. And it wasn't just coach's choice. It was just that we had injuries and had guys in and out of the lineup and, whenever you have that, it's tough to get comfortable with rotations.

"I'm not using that as an excuse but it definitely was a factor."

But Bogut and others in the organization concede the Bucks' problem weren't exclusively because of injuries.

There were also chemistry issues on the court. Bucks general manager John Hammond and Skiles were in concert in adding several veterans to the roster last summer, including Gooden, Corey Maggette and Keyon Dooling. All were in the rotation and all took awhile to adjust to Skiles' system.

"I will say the difference between last year's team and this year's team is just chemistry," Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova said. "We had a lot of new guys on our team this year, who tried to learn our system, our plays.

"I will say last year we were playing more together. We shared the ball more than we did this year."

And they had issues off the court.

"I think chemistry is underrated in the NBA and team camaraderie off the floor is underrated," Bogut said. "So we need to get a good group. I'm not saying we had a bad group but we have a lot of improving to do."

Bucks general manager John Hammond and Skiles fully understand that. Skiles said he and Hammond talked into the morning after Wednesday night's season finale in Oklahoma City.

"It was very disappointing," Skiles said of the season that began with great promise and ended in despair. "We've got to look at the whole picture and try to make decisions to improve the team.

"We're not good enough."

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