The Phoenix Suns are Moving on from Monty Williams
THE PHOENIX SUNS ARE MOVING ON FROM MONTY WILLIAMS – The Phoenix Suns acquired one of the most prolific scorers in the game today — Kevin Durant — via a midseason trade with the Brooklyn Nets. And despite trading away both depth and multiple future first-round draft picks, the Suns became one of the odds-on favorites to contend for the NBA title.
How did the storyline play out for the Suns in the end? Well, not very well.
Sure, they finished with the fourth-best record in the Western Conference. They managed to get by an L.A. Clippers team missing two of its top two scorers and defenders in five games.
Unfortunately, that is where the good times ended for the Suns. They played the top-seeded Denver Nuggets to a stalemate through the first four games, with each team winning on its home court. However, Denver closed out the series in six games, including a lopsided 125-100 victory in the series finale.
When a team fails to live up to expectations, changes are made. And it is now being reported by CBS Sports that the Suns have parted ways with Monty Williams. It was somewhat of a surprising move given the fact that Williams was at the helm for only four seasons, and he did have some success during that stretch.
The Full Monty
In his first season, the Suns failed to make the playoffs, but they won all eight games in the playoff bubble during the 2019-20 campaign. The following season they acquired Chris Paul and the team’s fortunes started to change immediately.
They increased their win total by 17 games and qualified for the playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons. Not only that, but the Suns went all the way to the NBA Finals, a feat the team had not accomplished since 1993. But after taking the first two games against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Suns were eventually ousted in six games.
During the 2021-22 campaign, the Suns finished with the league’s best record of 64-18. This was also the most wins in franchise history. They managed to get by the New Orleans Pelicans in six games in the opening round. But the series against the Dallas Mavericks was a different story. Both teams won on their respective home court through the first six games, setting the stage for Game 7 in Phoenix.
Unfortunately for the Suns, the final score was not even close as the Mavericks cruised to a 123-90 victory.
The loss was certainly disappointing for a team that had posted a 115-39 record during a two-year stretch.
Fast forward to the present, the Suns are coming off a disappointing second-round playoff exit for the second straight season. Not only that, but neither of the final games of those series was even close to being competitive.
Perhaps Monty Williams did lose the team somewhere along the way. And I am sure that the deteriorating relationship with DeAndre Ayton – a former No. 1 draft pick – didn’t help, either.
Who’s to Blame?
More often than not, the players receive praise when things go well. But the flip side of the narrative is the coaches get most of the blame when a team underperforms. And that is certainly what transpired in this scenario as well.
It seems rather odd that a team is choosing to move on from a head coach who helped guide a team from being a laughingstock to a perennial playoff contender. Let’s also not forget that Williams and the Suns were in the NBA Finals just two years ago. But the story doesn’t end there as the front office has some difficult decisions to make.
Will the team opt to bring back Paul and Ayton next season? Can the front office acquire the necessary talent to build around Kevin Durant and Devin Booker? Furthermore, who will emerge as the new voice that is needed to help this roster reach its fullest potential?
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for a team that as of right now, has more questions than answers.
Great analysis James!
Thanks so much for the kind words. Hope you have a great day!
Appreciate the read and response. I hope you have a great day.