The Suns are parting ways with coach Monty Williams after four seasons, league sources said. The athletics on Saturday. Here’s what you need to know:
- The Suns fell to the Nuggets in six games in the Western Conference semifinals, losing Game 6 in a 25-point blowout.
- Following a breakout season in which Williams led the team to a 17-win season, Phoenix made the 2021 NBA Finals.
- The Suns went 194-115 in the regular season and 27-19 in the postseason under Williams.
The athleticsQuick analysis:
What went wrong?
The Suns were not going to win a trophy this season. Their bench was inadequate and their defense was suspect. Their health has deteriorated. Above all, they needed more time to build chemistry with Kevin Durant. Still, they won’t excuse their Game 6 collapse, the second year in a row they’ve been blown out at home.
Williams did a great job in Phoenix, leading the Suns out of a 10-year playoff drought and into the 2021 NBA Finals. But Phoenix’s recent postseason shortcomings have caught up with him. The Suns were good enough to win the title in 2022, but lost to Luka Doncic and Dallas in the Western Conference semifinals.
This season, Williams has made five starts and eight appearances in the rotation before the playoffs. And once he settled on something, he changed it in Game 1 of the first round. He played Durant and Devin Booker for more minutes. The rotation changed from game to game. Williams arrived at the right time in the desert. He was exactly what the organization needed. But sometimes, to reach the top, a new voice and direction is needed. – Haller
How Matt Ishbia’s tenure showed change
Matt Eshbia became a billionaire in the mortgage business as a hands-on leader. “Being in the weeds,” he calls it. His process, is the path to success. He knows no other way. As a first-year NBA owner, it should come as no surprise that he is making changes. In the introduction, Ishbia said he would take his time and observe.
But close friend and former NBA coach and executive Isiah Thomas stood by him and pointed out that basketball ops was being evaluated throughout the game. The Durant trade was made to help Phoenix win its first championship. It was a bold move that came with a deadline. While Booker is young, only 26 years old, Durant will turn 35 in September. The Suns’ championship window won’t be open for long. Ishbia is not waiting. – Haller
In the year A first-round pick of New York in 1994, Williams began coaching as an intern with the Spurs during the 2004-05 season after a nine-year playing career.
His first coaching role came in 2010 with New Orleans, where he led two playoff appearances in five seasons before being fired.
Phoenix was hired by the Suns on a five-year deal in 2019 after coming off a 19-game winning streak. He led the Suns to a franchise-record 64-win season in three years.
The Suns had championship aspirations heading into the postseason after dealing Durant at the trade deadline. Phoenix also saw its 2021-22 season end in the semifinals, suffering a similar loss to the Mavericks.
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(Photo: Mark J. Rabilas / USA Today)