When the Suns hired Monty Williams two years ago, he laid out his roadmap: “There’s so much room to grow. I think we have a young team that’s learning how to win and they will and I have to do my job. I have to enhance the strengths but be honest about our weaknesses and get the players to consider a new way of doing some things.”
Williams did that. He also incorporated veterans like Chris Paul into Phoenix’s system.
The result: The Suns went from 19-63 the season before hiring Williams to 34-39 last season to 51-21 this season.
Now, Williams is being honored for that success.
National Basketball Coaches Association release:
Phoenix Suns Head Coach Monty Williams is the 2021 recipient of the Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award, the National Basketball Coaches Association announced today.
The Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award recognizes the dedication, commitment and hard work of NBA Head Coaches and is presented annually to a Head Coach who helps guide his players to a higher level of performance on the court and shows outstanding service and dedication to the community off the court. It honors the spirit of Mr. Goldberg, the esteemed long-time Executive Director of the NBCA, who set the standard for loyalty, integrity, love of the game, passionate representation and tireless promotion of NBA coaching. The award is unique in that it is voted upon by the winners’ peers, the Head Coaches of all 30 NBA teams.
The depth of coaching excellence in the NBA is reflected in this year’s voting as a total of 7 Head Coaches received votes. In addition to Williams, the following also garnered votes: Scott Brooks, Michael Malone, Nate McMillan, Doc Rivers, Quin Snyder and Tom Thibodeau.
Williams is a worthy winner. I picked him second for Coach of the Year (to Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau), considering only coaching performance, not also community work.
The coaches’ union created this award a few years ago. The media still votes on a Coach of the Year that is more widely recognized as the top coaching honor.
Williams could claim both. Not only is he respected by his peers, he is held in high regard by the press.
By the way: Though this press release brags about the “depth of coaching excellence in the NBA” because seven coaches received votes (Wizards’ Scott Brooks, Nuggets’ Michael Malone, Hawks’ Nate McMillan, 76ers’ Doc Rivers, Jazz’s Quin Snyder and Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau), that’s the fewest coaches to receive votes in the five-year history of this award.
Not that the number of different coaches receiving votes is a good measure of the depth of coaching ability throughout the league. The overall level of coaching quality has become extraordinarily high.
And Williams was named best of the best by his peers.