“Everything you want is on the other side of hard”. “Don’t get happy on the farm”. “Well done is better than well said”.
Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams, in his four years as the leader of the team, has provided us with some memorable quotes and astute philosophies. He joined the franchise amidst a decade-long drought of playoff basketball. Under his tutelage and guidance, the team flourished and blossomed into a destination for players throughout the league.
His calm demeanor and father-like approach to his players made him a mentor both on and off the court.
Yet back-to-back early exits from the postseason, both in embarrassing fashion, have resulted in change for the Suns.
On Saturday it was announced that the Suns would be parting ways with Monty Williams.
BREAKING: The Phoenix Suns dismissed coach Monty Williams, sources tell ESPN. Williams was a two-time NBA Coach of the Year in four seasons with Suns — including a trip to 2021 NBA Finals. Suns lost 6-game series to Nuggets in Western Semifinals. pic.twitter.com/bfMd6F1RJc— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 14, 2023
This isn’t necessarily shocking news as the new ownership group led by Mat Ishbia have already begun to leave their mark on the franchise. Unnamed scouts and administrators were let go from the team on Friday. And now they will be looking for a new head coach as they prepare for the 2023-24 NBA season.
In his four years with the Suns he went 194-115 in the regular season. His .628 winning percentage is third all-time in Phoenix franchise history, trailing only Paul Westphal (.685) and Mike D’Antoni (.650). He guided the Suns to the 2021 NBA Finals, only the third appearance for the team in franchise history.
Williams went 27-19 in the postseason, but the losses were memorable.
Phoenix was up 2-0 over the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals before losing the next four consecutive games. As the number one overall seed in the playoffs in 2022, the Suns lost to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals by 33 points. Following new ownership dealing for Kevin Durant, the Suns lost by 25 points to the Denver Nuggets in the 2023 Western Conference Semifinals.
Suns have faced three elimination games in the past three seasons:— John Voita (@DarthVoita) May 12, 2023
❄️Avg. margin of loss: 21.7 points
❄️Devin Booker +/-: -83
❄️Outrebounded by 10.7 RPG
Something needs to change.
Monty-isms aside, the continual lack of adjustments in the postseason were amplified in their losses. No Chris Paul? No Deandre Ayton? It doesn’t matter, or at least it doesn’t to ownership. The NBA is a “what have you done for me lately” league and what Monty has done lately is fail in embarrassing fashion.
Monty stated in his exit interview with the media on Friday that, “James and I, we always take some time to let things settle before you start making major decisions.” His separation displays Mat Ishbia’s conflicting philosophy. Ishbia is a mover and a shaker.
The Suns will move forward without Monty and the head coach search begins. Names such as Nick Nurse, Mike Budenholzer, and Dwayne Casey are other head coaches who have been separated from their teams following the 2022-23 season.
Whoever hires Monty as their next head coach isn’t just getting a good coach but a good man. His ability to motivate and mentor young men is an admirable quality. He will be missed in Phoenix.
Stay tuned to Bright Side of the Sun as we monitor the direction Mat Ishbia and James Jones are guiding the team.