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Suns’ Monty Williams voted Coach of the Year by his peers

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Williams joins Cotton Fitzsimmons and Mike D’Antoni as the third Phoenix Suns coach to garner the award.

2019-20 Phoenix Suns Media Day Photo by Barry Gossage NBAE via Getty Images

Monty Williams came to the Phoenix Suns in May of 2019 with hopes of being the head coach who could take the organization’s young core and turn the tide. Though the expectations that he and the team have set have yet to be met, due to his efforts, he is adding some hardware to his trophy case.

Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Monty Williams has won the National Basketball Coaches Associations’ Coach of the Year Award.

Still to come is a media-voted award for COY, but this one by peer coaches arguably means more to a guy like Monty.

The 2018-19 Phoenix Suns finished the season 19-63. Head coach Igor Kokoshov was dismissed and the search was on for a stable leader. The Suns coaching carousel was becoming comical.

Former NBA player Monty Williams, who played 9 seasons for a variety of teams, joined the Suns after spending two seasons as an assistant coach with the “Process” 76ers. Monty first broke into coaching with Portland, where he served as an assistant from 2005-10. He served as head coach of the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans from 2010-15, where he coached Chris Paul for one season. Following his departure from the Big Easy, Williams joined the Thunder’s staff as an assistant in 2015.

In his first season in Phoenix he guided the team to a 26-39 record prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the NBA resumed play in July of 2020, his team became the talk of the Orlando Bubble as they ran the table and went 8-0 to finished the season. In one season Williams nearly doubled the previous year’s win total, posting a 34-39 record.

Following James Jones’ acquisition of Chris Paul in the offseason, expectations were high for the Suns as they entered the 2020-21 season. Although uncertain where they would land, the possibility was real that Phoenix would end their 11-season playoff drought.

Monty Williams led the Suns to a 51-21 regular season record. The team finished with the 5th best offensive rating (117.2), 9th best defensive rating (111.3), and the 3rd best net rating (+5.9) in the league. He coached and mentored two All-Stars in Devin Booker and Chris Paul and finished with the second best record in the league.

From a winning percentage perspective (.708), it is the 5th best record in Suns history.

SB Nation Reacts, which polls readers of varying SB Nation sites, overwhelmingly believed the New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau should win the award.

Sorry, not sorry.

Williams has taken a team of young players who had experienced nothing but losing, a team who had the second worst record in the league, and turned them into a team with championship aspirations. He has done so with integrity and grit, motivational speeches and inspirational actions.

“Everything you want is on the other side of hard.”

We’re not where we want to be yet, Coach Mont. But it sure is nice to be recognized for the actions you have taken to get us there. Congratulations Coach.