Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams was named Coach of the Year


Monty Williams, NBA Coach of the Year.

Monty Williams, NBA Coach of the Year.
picture: Getty Images

Finally someone from the Phoenix Suns organization is getting the respect they deserve. Head coach Monty Williams was appointed this week NBA coach of the year, and it’s about damn time. Williams ran away with the voting, collecting 81 first-place votes for a total of 458. Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins finished second with 270 votes.

Williams is the 10th African American head coach to receive the league’s highest coaching honor. Honestly he should have won it last year but was beaten by Monty by Tom Thibodeau of the New York Knicks. There hasn’t been a black coach who has won multiple Coach of the Year awards, but Williams will stand a good chance of becoming the first to do so in the next few seasons.

Last season, the Suns were the league’s surprise team, winning 51 games, finishing second in the West and making it into the postseason for the first time in a decade. This season, Phoenix continued that upward trend, winning 64 games and ending with an NBA-best eight-game record.

I would have lost all confidence in the NBA awards voters if Williams had been snubbed for the second year in a row. Coach Williams has more history to make this season if his Suns go all the way. If Phoenix won the NBA Finals, Williams would seventh African American head coach tasked with leading his team to an NBA title. But make no mistake, Williams isn’t the only black coach making noise in the Association as Ime Udoka makes the Boston Celtics click. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that we could soon see another black man named Coach of the Year.

In his first season as head coach, Udoka led the Celtics to the second-best record in the Eastern Conference with 51 wins. After a poor start to the season, the Celtics were the best team in the league as of January and are now in an excellent position to make it back to the Eastern Conference Finals. That’s not bad for a first-time freshman head coach. Udoka finished fourth in the COY voting and I expect he will continue to climb that mountain.

Ty Lue could also have a great shot at winning the award if he is best players ever get well and stay healthy at the same time. Kawhi Leonard missed the entire 2021-22 season and even without him, the Clippers were able to stay in the mix in the West until Paul George went down with an injury that sidelined him for three months. Should Lue bring his boys back next season, I expect the Clippers will make a run to win the West and hire their coach for the honors.

Jason Kidd at Dallas is another coach I expect to be in the running for Coach of the Year for years to come. Every time you have an outstanding talent like Luka Dončić you have a chance to achieve some things. The Dallas Mavericks finished fourth in the West, and Kidd tied Lue for sixth in the COY vote. Kidd’s impact on this team was visible throughout the year in the way they dramatically improved on the defensive end of the court.

Then of course you have other veteran coaches like Doc Rivers and Nate McMillan who might also throw their names in the hat in any given year. JB Bickerstaff is another Black coach with a young team in Cleveland that feels it’s on the rise and deserves special attention. If the pelicans ever get Zion Williamson back On board and sane, make sure Willie Green will be included in this conversation very soon.

Almost half of the teams in the NBA currently employ black head coaches. From 2006 to 2009, black coaches won the award each year. Avery Johnson (Dallas 2006), Sam Mitchell (Toronto 2008), Byron Scott (New Orleans Hornets 2008) and Mike Brown (Cleveland 2009). Another run like this could be on the horizon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *