Scott Skiles is preparing for his new job next season as head coach of the Orlando Magic. We have yet to see if he can do for them now what he did for them as a player in the 90s. On one occasion Scott Skiles broke Terry Porter’s record for most assists in a game, cementing a legacy as one of the most capable point guards ever.
There’s been no shortage of playmaking point guards since Scott Skiles first set that record. There’s been Jason Kidd, who reached a 25 assist game. There’s Rajon Rondo, who reached 24 assists in a game as recently as 2011, in his time with the Celtics. There was the passing machine John Stockton, who came very close to Skiles’ record, getting 28 assists. But there is yet to be a player capable enough to match Skiles’ milestone 30-assist game.
Magic Magazine described how Scott broke the record on December 30, 1990, in a game against the Denver Nuggets. Skiles also added 22 points, getting the Magic a 155-116 victory. Aiding him on the scoring end and connecting all those passes were teammates Dennis Scott, Nick Anderson, And Jerry Reynolds. Reynolds connected shots on the record-tying and record-breaking passes. Skiles also still holds the Magic team record in assists per game, averaging 7.2.
Later on, Scott Skiles was the point guard for a young Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq and Scott didn’t always get along, though. They are rumored to have had a scuffle during a practice session once. But over the years they have had nothing but positive things to say about each other.
Some years back, Skiles and Shaq faced each other in the playoffs. At the time, Skiles was the Chicago Bulls coach and Shaq was the Miami Heat star center. Shaq told ESPN of the days he and Scott both wore Orlando Magic jerseys.
“If you were open by a quarter of an inch, he would find you. If you were in a mismatch, he would get the ball to you. Every time. Every time. I could always tell he’d end up being a coach or a GM.”
It’s only proper that Skiles would return to the Magic this year, 25 years after his 30 assist game. Scott spent 10 seasons in the NBA as a player, from 1986 to 1997, and served 13 years as a coach in the NBA. He also did a stint in Greece as both a player and a coach.
His tenacious play and toughness should serve to guide the Orlando Magic’s current crop of young talent.
[Photo via Mike Cooper /Allsport]