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Monty Williams preaches patience to Suns fans on The Woj Pod

Williams was the latest guest on Adrian Wojnarowski’s podcast.

Monty Williams is the first head coach the Suns have hired with previous experience since Alvin Gentry. A well-deserved change of pace for an organization standing on rocky ground close to the last decade. With the arrival of Williams, coupled with James Jones getting his intern tagged removed at the general manager position, stability finally seems on the horizon.

Less than 48 hours after he held his introductory press conference and spoke to the throng of local media on hand, Williams sat down with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski in Phoenix to discuss not only his new job, but also turning down the Lakers, what Suns owner Robert Sarver said to him during their interview, and his family’s passion to see him back in the head coaching ranks. What Williams said about the Suns’ future, though, should speak volumes to the fan base thirsty for a winner once more.

“This particular situation, I think patience is going to be key,” Williams said. “Allowing our team to grow, but at a rate where I don’t push them too hard. I could push my group that first year {with the New Orleans Hornets}, then we strip the team down then I had Anthony Davis, Tyreke (Evans), Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson. I learned that you have to let those guys grow at a slower pace. That’s not what fans want to hear all the time, but if you push them too hard you put them in a situation where they might not perform well. Not everybody’s ready to win a championship.”

Williams hit the nail right on the head there when it comes to the development process for young players entering the NBA. Even the athletic marvels like Davis take time, as he exploded onto the scene in his second and third seasons.

In Phoenix, Williams has already mentioned the young core led by Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges. All three of them will be 23 years old or younger (Ayton = 21 in July), so instant success shouldn’t be the prime expectation for Suns fans. Realistically, the peak of a player’s performance usually doesn’t occur until around the 27-30 range, as you can see with MVP winners such as Kevin Durant and James Harden.

The building blocks are in place for Williams and his coaching staff to really help accelerate the Suns’ painstaking rebuild forward. Now, Phoenix’s fourth head coach over the last four years is setting the stage for what’s to come. It will be a strong focus on building a strong culture and enjoying the process of becoming at least 1 percent better each day. As Williams learned under Brett Brown in Philadelphia as his lead assistant this past season, breaking the season down into thirds and gradually improving shows that results are actually occurring.

“So I think having this particular team, we won 19 games last year,” Williams continued. “We want to be able to improve every month, every section of the season. Brett Brown does a really good job of breaking down a season into thirds, and I want to be able to do that here. Just see improvement every third — and hopefully in the summer we can say ‘hey, this is what we need to get better at’ — but we do see a lot of growth in this program.”

Williams has coached elite players in the league, including all of the following: Durant, Davis, Russell Westbrook, Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler, and Ben Simmons. Adding Booker to that list, along with Ayton expecting to play a similar style as Embiid in 2019-20, the ingredients are at Williams’ fingertips to cook up a successful winning atmosphere in the Valley over the next five-plus years.

And the Suns’ new head coach believes they are in a spot to take a leap within the next year or two. The main reason he was attracted to Phoenix? Building that program he’s always wanted, which would’ve never come to fruition with LeBron James and Lakers.

“I really believe in a little over a year, maybe two years, we’re going to be in a position where we’re going to be really good,” Williams said. “That’s where I feel like I am more attracted to this situation because I get the chance to build a program.”

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