The Suns were quick to make some changes shortly after they came up short yet again in the western conference semi-finals against the Denver Nuggets.
One of those changes was vital as they fired head coach Monty Williams after 5 successful seasons with the franchise. Williams took over a Suns team that didn’t make the playoffs in a decade.
He answered the bell by winning coach of the year last year after winning a Franchise record 65 games and also by advancing to the NBA Finals the year before for the first time since 1993.
Monty Williams in 4 seasons with the Suns:
🟠 2022 Coach of the Year
🟠 2021 NBA Finals appearance
🟠 3 straight top-4 finishes in Western Conference
🟠 Winningest NBA head coach since 2021
🟠 8-0 in the NBA Bubble pic.twitter.com/kK56DEiuPK
— The Sporting News (@sportingnews) May 14, 2023
Thank you, Monty.
“We are filled with gratitude for everything Monty has contributed to the Suns and to the Valley community."
– President of Basketball Operations and General Manager James Jones pic.twitter.com/PMmZ6JkqAy
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) May 14, 2023
Williams’ overall record with the franchise was 309-194 which was good for a .628 record. The one thing Williams brought to the team was a change in the culture for a team and city that was desperately needing to see some changes in the way things were run.
A good look back at this was the bubble year when the Suns were 26-39 going into the Bubble with playoffs to be nowhere in sight. Through Booker’s heroics and Williams’ great coaching and leadership, that 8-0 run was a stepping stone to what they would ultimately become in the next couple of seasons.
Resurfacing my favorite Monty moment with the Suns, his speech after the undefeated bubble run.
This ended up being after the last game the bubble Suns got to play. The next season, they came back and made a trip to the Finals. pic.twitter.com/Jjwr5IOFTf
— Blake (@blakesilverman) May 14, 2023
That bubble-run speech will forever be the biggest milestone of Willams’ career. Especially after his comment of saying that the next step for the franchise was becoming a team that controls its own destiny.
They ended up doing that a year later after the Suns would finish as the western conference number two seed and advance to the NBA Finals.
Although they didn’t get the job done by losing to the eventual NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks in game 6, another moment that showed Williams’ true character as a person was when he went inside the Bucks’ locker room and congratulated them for winning the championship.
Monty Williams congratulates Giannis and the @Bucks after an incredible NBA Finals. #ThatsGame pic.twitter.com/Evsy5I1IsO
— NBA (@NBA) July 21, 2021
In many ways, Williams time and time again through his actions and leadership showed why the Suns’ franchise did the right thing by hiring him to be the right man to bring their team back to relevancy.
Unfortunately, with new ownership in place and the team now moving in a win-now mode mentality with Devin Booker and now Kevin Durant in the spotlight, the Suns’ new vision just didn’t align with Williams but that shouldn’t factor into the impact he had on this franchise.
In regards to Monty I don't think he was dismissed solely on results. I think this team is getting completely reconstructed & the vision they have going forward is not a great fit for Monty Williams & his system. This is a new movie and you gotta get the right actor for the role!
— FLEX From Jersey (@FlexFromJersey) May 14, 2023
It’ll be interesting to see who the new Suns head coach will end up becoming but one thing’s for certain, after the legacy Williams left behind, the Suns will have more pressure than ever to deliver a title.
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