- Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams has been named the NBA’s ‘Coach of the Year’.
- The NBA ‘Coach of the Year’ receives the Red Auerbach Trophy, named in honor of the Boston Celtics legend.
- Phoenix finished the 2021-2022 regular season with the league’s best record at 64-18.
In 2021, Phoenix Suns’ head coach Monty Williams finished second in the NBA’s Coach of the Year balloting, just 11 votes behind winner Tom Thibodeau of the New York Knicks. This year, it wasn’t even close. Williams won the Red Auerbach Trophy as the NBA Coach of the Year with 458 points and 81 first place votes. Memphis Grizzlies’ coach Taylor Jenkins (270 points, 17 first place votes) and Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra (72 votes, 1 first place vote) were a distant second and third.
This is Williams’ second head coaching gig–he previously served as head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans (aka Hornets) for five seasons. Phoenix has enjoyed a dramatic turnaround under his watch. In 2018-2019, the Suns were a doormat finishing with the second worst record in the NBA at 19-63. They improved to 34-39 in 2019-2020 before exploding to a 51-20 mark and the league’s second best record in 2020-2021. Phoenix finished the 2021-2022 regular season with the league’s best record at 64-18.
Williams will be presented with a special edition 75th Anniversary commemorative trophy today in celebration of winning the 2021-22 NBA Coach of the Year Award, gifted in addition to the Red Auerbach Trophy, which he will receive later. The commemorative trophy, composed of a solid crystal basketball, features the NBA 75 logo 3D laser etched and suspended within its center. The Coach of the Year Award is named in honor of legendary Boston Celtics head coach Red Auerbach. Auerbach led the Celtics to nine NBA championships including an ungodly eight in a row.
This is Williams’ first NBA Coach of the Year honor. He is the third Phoenix Suns head coach to win the award joining Cotton Fitzsimmons (1988-1989) and Mike D’Antoni (2004-2005). During the 2021-2022 season, Phoenix won a franchise-record 18 consecutive games from October 30 through December 2. Phoenix led the NBA in net rating (+7.5), third in defensive rating (106.8) and fifth in offensive rating (114.2), making them the only team to rank in the top five in all three categories. Williams gave credit to his players and the rest of his coaching staff:
“If there’s one award that exemplifies team, it’s the Coach of the Year award because there’s not a coach in the NBA that has bad intentions for the program or for the players. Nobody walks into the gym and hopes that their guys play poorly and tells them not to work and, ‘Please, don’t play defense.’ We don’t do that. In order to get an award like this, it takes a lot of people.”
Williams went on to thank the Suns’ support staff from owner Robert Sarver and general manager James Jones to team security and the flight attendants on the team’s chartered jet:
“There’s so many people that help us have a consistent day and they create a bubble for us to have success. Yeah, my name will go on the plaque, or whatever, but my name represents a lot of names.”
Phoenix is now a +200 choice to win the NBA Championship head of Golden State (+300), Boston (+500), Miami (+550) and Milwaukee (+600).