Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams was voted best NBA coach of the regular season, ahead of Memphis counterpart Taylor Jenkins and Miami coach Erik Spoelstra.
The NBA regular season list is complete! While Marcus Smart was voted best defender, Scottie Barnes best rookie, Ja Morant best progression, Tyler Herro best sixth man, and Nikola Jokic will be officially voted MVP this week (the news was revealed by ESPN on Monday), we know the name of the best coach of the year. This is Monty Williams, head of the Phoenix Suns, who finished No. 1 in the regular season (64 wins – 18 losses, franchise record) and are still in the running for the league title. The 50-year-old coach received 458 points from the judging panel of 100 journalists, 81 of which put him in first place. He beat Memphis Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins (270 points, 17 first places), second in the Western Conference, and Miami Erik Spoelstra (72 points, first place), first in the Eastern Conference.
Third season with the Suns for Williams
This is the third time that a Phoenix coach has received this trophy, after Cotton Fitzsimmons in 1989 and Mike d’Antoni in 2005. A great reward for the Virginia native coach, former player from 1994 to 2003 (New York, San Antonio, Denver, Orleans, Philadelphia), and who is living his second head coaching experience. Monty Williams started as a No. 1 on the bench for New Orleans from 2010 to 2015, then joined Phoenix in 2019, after assisting Oklahoma City and Philadelphia. It was at OKC, in 2016, that he experienced a terrible tragedy, with the death of his wife and mother of his five children in a road accident, at the age of 44. Mony Williams has been instrumental in the Suns’ rise in recent seasons, with a tenth-place finish in 2020 (staying undefeated in eight games in the Orlando bubble, which seems to have been the trigger) and a lost final last year against Milwaukee.
Williams succeeds Thibodeau
In addition to the three finalists, six other coaches received votes for this Coach of the Year award: Ime Udoka of Boston, JB Bickerstaff of Cleveland, Tyronn Lue of the Clippers, Jason Kidd of Dallas, Nick Nurse of Toronto and Chris Finch of Minnesota. Monty Williams succeeds Tom Thibodeau, the Knicks coach. Let’s hope he will not meet the same fate, the New York franchise having completely missed out on his season, after a good 2020-21 exercise.