Monty Williams: ‘It’s a blessing to be head coach of the Phoenix Suns’

The Phoenix Suns and head coach Monty Williams have agreed to a multi-year contract extension, the team announced Wednesday.

Williams, 50, had two years left on his original five-year deal.

“Monty has raised the standard for our organization and overseen the transformation of our team’s culture since he joined as head coach three years ago,” said General Manager James Jones via a statement from the team announcing the move. “We’re excited to announce this extension and look forward to continuing to build upon this success in the years ahead.”

The 2021-22 NBA Coach of the Year, in addition to being selected by his peers as the NBCA Coach of the Year winner for both 2020-21 and 2021-22, Williams is heading into his fourth season as the Suns’ head coach since joining the organization in 2019. 

In his first three seasons as head coach, the Suns have become the first team in NBA history to increase their win total by at least 13 wins in three consecutive seasons, recording one Western Conference title, two Pacific Division titles, and two playoff appearances. 

Last season, Williams and the Suns set a franchise record by winning 64 games and finished with the NBA’s best record by eight games above the second best. However, the season ended in disappointment as Phoenix lost to the Mavericks in 7 in the second round of the playoffs.

“I’m grateful to extend my commitment to this team and to all the people who make it a special place,” said Williams. “Our players put in the work every day that allows us to be successful, and I’m excited to continue this journey with them. I appreciate the constant effort of our staff and every member of the Suns organization; it is a joy to work alongside them all. Our fans are incredible and have made my family, and I feel so welcome in the Valley. I’m thankful for them and look forward to continue to work in the community here.

“This is a get to, not a got to. It’s a blessing to be head coach of the Phoenix Suns.”

In 2020-21, Williams led the Suns to the NBA’s second-best record and the team’s first Pacific Division title since 2007. This preceded a memorable playoff run in which the Suns won a franchise postseason record nine straight games on the way to the third Western Conference title in team history and first since 1993. Unfortunately, the Suns would lose to the Bucks in the NBA Finals.

Suns add Patrick Mutombo to coaching staff

The Phoenix Suns have added Patrick Mutombo as an assistant coach. In addition, Randy Ayers will transition from assistant coach to coaching advisor on the team’s staff, the Suns announced Tuesday.

According Suns head coach Monty Williams, this move allows Ayers to spend more time with his family.

“Randy has been instrumental to our success the past three seasons and he will continue to play an important role in his new position,” said Williams via press release from team. “This move will allow him to be closer to and spend more time with his family while remaining an invaluable member of our coaching staff. I’m grateful for everything Randy has contributed, on and off the court, since joining me on my first day as a head coach in New Orleans.”

Mutombo, 42, joins Phoenix following two seasons as the head coach of the Toronto Raptors’ G League affiliate, Raptors 905. At the helm of 905, he guided the team to the G League’s best regular season record in back-to-back seasons, totaling a 36-11 total record over his two seasons as a head coach. Mutombo finished as the runner-up for NBA G League Coach of the Year in each of his two seasons with 905.

Prior to taking over as head coach for Raptors 905, Mutombo spent several seasons as an assistant coach in the NBA and G League, including time with the Denver Nuggets, Austin Spurs and Toronto Raptors, where he was a member of the staff during the team’s 2019 NBA Championship season. Before entering the NBA ranks as an assistant coach, Mutombo began his coaching career as an assistant with his alma mater, Metropolitan State University of Denver, in 2011.

Mutombo was a standout player at Metro State and played professionally in Italy, Brazil and Greece, before ending his playing career with the Bakersfield Jam of the G League.

Mavs’ Doncic on winning Game 7: ‘I can’t get this smile off my face’

“Game 7 typically goes to the best player, and I believe we have that in this series. It’s going to be an exciting clash of styles.”

–Spencer Dinwiddie, Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks went into Phoenix against the Suns, who had the best record in basketball this season, looking to win Game 7 of their Western Conference second-round series Sunday night. Dallas had not won on the road in this series and have not won in Phoenix since 2019, but as Dinwiddie said, Dallas had the best player in the series, and that was the difference.

The best player in this series, Luka Doncic, scored 27 of his game-high 35 points in the first half to go along with 10 rebounds; Spencer Dinwiddie added 21 of his 30 points in the first half. Jalen Brunson chipped in with 24 points as the Mavs defeated the Suns 123-90 at Footprint Center to advance to the Western Conference Finals to battle the Golden State Warriors. 

The trio of Doncic, Dinwiddie, and Brunson combined for 89 points.

Game 1 of the Western Conference finals is Wednesday night at Chase Center.

Doncic and the Suns had the same amount of points(27) at the half. Dallas led by 30 at the break(57-27) and had their largest lead of 46 points in the third. Dallas, who was down 2-0 in this series, defeated the Suns by an average of 30 points in Games 6 and 7. 

According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Mavericks’ 33-point win over the Suns was the second-largest win in a series-clinching game versus the best team in the NBA in league history.

Dinwiddie was right about Doncic being the best player in this series as he scored more points than Devin Booker, grabbed more rebounds than Deandre Ayton, dished out more assists than Chris Paul, and had more steals than Mikal Bridges.

Doncic could not stop smiling after beating the Suns in Game 7.

“I can’t get this smile off my face,” he said. “I’m just really happy. Honestly, I think we deserved this.”

Dallas played one of its better games of the season, while the Suns played their worst. Booker(11) and Paul(10) combined for only 21 points, including three points at halftime. In addition, Phoenix shot only 24% in the first half, including 21% from deep. 

Phoenix couldn’t make shots; they couldn’t stop the Mavericks, and in the end, they wasted a 64-win season.

“That was good old fashion a** whipping,” Booker said. 

Suns head coach Monty Williams added: “I know they didn’t want to play that way. We basically played the worst game of the season tonight. That group has a lot of character and integrity, and I know how bad they wanted it.”

The Suns will look back at this series and this season and be very disappointed. At 37, Paul, who is only getting older, looked worn down in this series. In addition, they’ll have to figure out what they will do with Deandre Ayton, who can be a restricted free agent and played only 17 minutes Sunday night. The main goal for Phoenix was to return to the Finals and win a championship. Obviously, that’s not happening. 

Regarding the Mavs, they’re playing good defense and getting stellar play from Doncic. They have a legitimate shot at beating the Warriors as they won the season series 3-1. The Mavs will compete, and we’ll see if they can go back to the NBA Finals for the time since 2011.

 

 

 

 

Suns’ Williams: ‘If there’s one award that exemplifies team, it’s the Coach of the Year award’

Last season, when Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams did not win NBA Coach of the Year, many of his players were not happy, so they did something about it.

This season, the Phoenix Suns were even better as they had the best record in basketball, which helped Williams get the award.

On Monday, Williams was named NBA Coach of the Year.

Williams received 458 points (81 first-place votes) from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins finished in second place with 270 points (17 first-place votes).  

According to Willians, this award is not about him but the team.

“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 the players,” Williams said. “Nobody walks in the gym saying and hope that their guys to play poorly… In order to get an award like this, it takes a lot of people.”

The Suns had a 64-18 record in the regular season, the most victories, and the highest winning percentage (.780) in a season in franchise history. 

Phoenix won a franchise-record 18 consecutive games from Oct. 30 – Dec. 2, 2021. The streak included a 16-0 record in November, tied for the second-most wins in a month without a loss in NBA history, trailing only the Atlanta Hawks’ 17-0 record in January 2015.

This is Williams’ third season as the Suns’ head coach. Last season, he guided Phoenix to a 51-21 record and its first appearance in the NBA Finals since the 1992-93 season, finishing in second place in the voting for the 2020-21 NBA Coach of the Year Award. 

Currently, the Suns and Mavericks’ Western Conference second-round series is tied at 2. The pivotal Game 5 is Tuesday night in Phoenix.

The voting results for the 2021-22 NBA Coach of the Year Award are below:

Mavs’ Doncic in Game 3 win: ‘I knew I had to do better’

In the first two games of their Western Conference second-round series against the Phoenix Suns, the Dallas Mavericks were all about Luka Doncic and no one else. 

Coming into Game 3, Doncic was averaging 40 points per contest in this series, but Dallas needed others to come to the party.

Doncic got his in Game 3 with 26 points, 13 rebounds, and nine assists, but Jalen Brunson recorded a game-high 28 points; Reggie Bullock added 15 points, Dorian Finney-Smith chipped in with 14 points, and Maxi Kleber collected 14 points off the bench as the Mavs defeated the Suns 103-94 at American Airlines Center.

With the win, Dallas snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Suns. The Mavericks still trail in the series 2-1, with an opportunity to even the series on Sunday.

“I thought it was a great team win,” Kidd said. “(Jalen Brunson), Spencer [Dinwiddie], Maxi [Kleber], Luka [Dončić], Reggie [Bullock], (Dorian Finney-Smith) – everyone joined the party, they helped out on both ends. And then Luka was great defensively; he participated, too. It puts us in a different position when that happens.”

Doncic had 24 points in the first half in Game 2 but scored only 11 in the second half, and Dallas allowed Phoenix to score 40 points in the fourth on 84% shooting from the field. In Game 3, Doncic felt he needed to be better on both ends of the court. 

“I wouldn’t say motivation, but I knew I had to do better,” Doncic said. “I knew I could do better; I think that I have made a big jump on defense this year, and the second half was more by me, and I knew I had to get back to my team and play better defense.”

Dallas held Phoenix to 45% shooting from the field, marking the first game of the postseason (of nine outings) that Phoenix has been held to less than 50% from the field. In addition, the Mavs forced 17 turnovers, which led to 22 points.

On his 37th birthday, they forced seven Chris Paul turnovers.

“Happy birthday (Chris Paul),” Kidd said. “I think when you look at it, we were active. Our hands were active; we got deflections that led to steals. We came out aggressive. There was carryover from Game 2 in those first three quarters, and we played 48 minutes tonight. It’s a great win, but now this game is over. It’s a quick turnaround here for Sunday.”

Paul felt the turnovers were the difference in the game.

“If I don’t turn the ball over like that, I feel like it’s a different game, so give them a lot of credit,” Paul said.” They came out and did what they were supposed to do. We’ll be back on Sunday.”

Suns head coach Monty Williams did not like how the team’s offense flowed in Game 3.

“I’m sure there was a bit more pressure on the ball or hands in lanes to get the flex and that kind of thing,” he said. “I didn’t feel like we had a rhythm tonight on offense, to be straight with you all. You saw flashes, but we just didn’t have the same kind of offensive connection that we had in Phoenix. Some of that is to be expected when you are playing against a team, and you are up two games, you know they are going to come out and hit you in the mouth. I thought we could have settled down a little bit more on offense, especially when we have the ball jumping around the gym the way we did from a turnover perspective.”

This was a great effort from the Mavs on both ends, especially on defense. Playing big-time defense and getting big efforts from Doncic and others is why Dallas was successful this season. They have to use that same formula to win Game 4 and this series.

Notes:

-All five of the starters for Phoenix scored in double figures. Jae Crowder led the way with 19 points (5-8 3FG), seven rebounds, and five assists.

Suns’ Ayton on Paul’s performance in Game 1 vs. Pelicans: ‘Man, that is the CP3 Show’

Great players do great things in the playoffs, and Chris Paul is a great player, and Sunday night in Game 1 of Phoenix’s first-round series against the Pelicans, that greatness was on full display.

Phoenix led 53-34 at the break, but the Pelicans outscored the Suns 37-25 in the third quarter and had some momentum going into the fourth, but then, the “CP3 Show” commenced.

The 12-time All-Star scored 19 of his team-high 30 points in the fourth quarter to go along with seven rebounds, 10 assists, and three steals as the Suns defeated the Pelicans 110-99 at Footprint Center to take a 1-0 series lead.

Game 2 is Tuesday night in Phoenix.

At age 37, Paul became the oldest player to record 30 points and 10 assists in a playoff game. 

“Man, that is the CP3 Show,” Deandre Ayton said postgame. ‘We got a little taste of it.’

“Classic Chris,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said. 

With Phoenix leading 80-73, Paul scored or assisted 19 straight points for the Suns to take complete control of the game. 

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Paul became the fifth player with ten career playoff games of 30 points and 10 assists, joining LeBron James (22), Michael Jordan (15), Jerry West (14), and Oscar Robertson (12)

“It’s just reading the game,” Paul said. “We watch games all day, every day. We got to watch all the games yesterday. We watched the games today. We know in the playoffs, teams aren’t going to lay down.”

Williams had more praise for his point guard.

“He’s not only a great point guard, but he’s a great basketball player,” Williams said.

After making the Finals last season, the goal for the Suns is an NBA title. Barring anything unforeseen, the Pelicans can’t defeat Phoenix. So, in reality, to avoid injuries, the Suns have to sweep this series to play as few games as possible as they look to win an NBA title.

Suns’ Paul: ‘I’m grateful to be here with this group’

On Tuesday night, the Phoenix Suns killed two birds with one stone in their 121-110 win over the Lakers. Phoenix eliminated the Lakers from playoff contention, and more importantly, the Suns picked up their 63rd win of the season, setting the franchise record for wins in a season.

The previous record of 62 wins occurred during the 1992-93 and 2004-05 seasons. 

Suns head coach Monty Williams, who became the head man in 2019, helped spearhead the turnaround. Phoenix went from losing 63 games in the 2018-19 season to winning 63 games and possibly more this season.

“It started with the young guys we had that first year, the bubble, last year, and then the individual stuff that we’ve seen guys achieve along the way, and then tonight is unbelievably special for so many people,” Williams said post-game. 

“Not just the organization, but the people in the city that have basically birthed the Suns. Everywhere I go, people talk about the Suns are their baby, and to have us playing this way, achieving this goal tonight is huge for the valley. It’s hard to put it into words, but we’re all pretty grateful, and we talk about celebrating everything, and there’s just so many people that have a huge part in this, from the players, who are the main cogs in it all, but in particular, ownership, James (Jones), but also people like Jay Gaspar and Denise Romero, who just have grown up in this organization and it’s special to see them excited about what we’re doing.”

Maybe the biggest reason for the turnaround in Phoenix was the acquisition of Chris Paul. None of this happens without CP3. Paul also became the first player in NBA history to be a part of four teams that set franchise records for wins, but for the 12-time All-Star, who helped lead the Phoenix to the NBA Finals last season, it’s all about winning a title.

“It’s all good and well,” Paul said. “It would be nice to put a championship with all that. That’s the goal; that’s what we’re working towards. I don’t take that lightly, though, because it’s a lot of work; it’s a lot of hard work that goes into year-in and year-out playing and competing. At the end of the day, you want to have a chance. You at least want to have a chance, and I’m grateful to be here with this group.”

Deandre Ayton was there for the 19-63 season, and he, like everybody else on the Suns, is happy to get to 63 wins.

“Me and Mikal (Bridges) were looking at each other four years ago, bro; we were at the bottom pit of the barrel,” Ayton said. “We almost thought we weren’t a part of the league. For a minute, I thought we were playing people to play us my rookie year, the way that we were losing. We here, man, and seeing all the fans and the community just so happy, just so supportive, all that helps.”

Winning 63 games is all well and good, but the Suns have to cap it off with a championship!

Bickerstaff, Williams named NBA Coaches of the Month

The Cavaliers continue to be one of the biggest surprises in the NBA. One of the reasons is their head coach J.B. Bickerstaff. On Wednesday, the NBA announced that Bickerstaff was named the NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for games played in January.

This marks the first time Bickerstaff has earned Coach of the Month accolades and the 15th time in franchise history a coach has won the honor.

Bickerstaff led the Cavaliers to an 11-4 record in January, which was the second-best record in the Eastern Conference and the franchise’s best mark in a single month since November 2017 (12-3). Cleveland also had the best home record in the East, going 6-1 (.857) at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, and their five road wins were tied for the most in the conference.

Bickerstaff becomes the first Cavaliers coach to earn the coach of the month award since Tyronn Lue in October/November 2016. Bickerstaff has guided the Cavaliers to a 31-20 record on the season, the fourth-best mark in the Eastern Conference and the team’s best 51-game start since 2016-17 (36-15).

Phoenix Suns Head Coach Monty Williams earned the honor in the Western Conference Coach of the Month as he led the Suns to a 13-1 record in the month of January.

Currently, the Suns are on an 11-game winning streak after defeating the Nets Tuesday night.

Warriors’ Porter: ‘I was able to step in and knock some shots down’

The two best teams in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns faced off on Christmas Day at Footprint Center, and the game lived up to the hype.

Steph Curry scored 10 of his game-high 33 points in the fourth, while Otto Porter added 13 of his 19 points in the final period as the Warriors would pick up a second-straight win over the Suns 116-107.

The Warriors(27-6) now have the best record in the NBA and lead the season series 2-1.

Down the stretch, it became the Otto Porter show for the Warriors. With Golden State leading 104-99 with just over five minutes to go, Porter scored 10 of the Warriors’ final 12 points. 

Without Andrew Wiggins(health/safety), Jordan Poole(health/safety), and Klay Thompson(Achilles), Porter stepped up, and the Warriors got a big win on Christmas Day.

“Coach(Steve Kerr) drew up a couple of plays that freed me open, and my teammates did a good job of finding me,” Porter said, who also added six rebounds and three assists. “I was able to step in and knock some shots down, and they kept finding me, so I kind of got into a rhythm.”

Suns’ Christ Paul, who had a team-high 21 points to go along with eight assists, and six rebounds, added on Porter: ‘He hit big shots down the stretch. He damn-near was a max player in this league at one point.”

For the Phoenix Suns(26-6), their 15-game home winning streak is now over, and the sentiment on their side was that the Warriors wanted it more.

“They created those breaks. They played harder than us,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said. “It’s rare when I say that about our team. They outworked us more consistently for 50-50 balls, timely offensive rebounds, diving out of bounds to save balls.”

Devin Booker, who had 13 points against Golden State, added: “They wanted it more, and they played like it. We just have to take this loss and move on to our next game.”

It appears these two teams will battle it out the rest of the way for supremacy in the West and the NBA. It would also appear that the Warriors could have the advantage as they will get back Klay Thompson and James Wiseman at some point.

Because of their great start, we forget the Golden State Warriors are not whole, so this team could be even more formidable when they get everybody back.

Watch below as Porter talks big win over Suns on Christmas Day:

Steve Kerr named USA Basketball Men’s National Team Head Coach

The coaching staff for the 2022-24 USA Basketball Men’s National Team today was announced when USA Basketball Men’s National Team managing director Grant Hill officially  named eight-time NBA championship Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr to lead the USA Men’s National Team.

Additionally, Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few, Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra and Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams will complete the 2022-24 USA National Team coaching staff as assistant coaches.

The USA Basketball Board of Directors approved the selections, which, should the U.S. men qualify for the 2024 Olympics, will be subject to approval by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee. 

“With today’s announcement, our men’s national basketball team begins its quest for 2023 FIBA World Cup and 2024 Olympic gold,” said retired Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, USA Basketball Chairperson. “ On behalf of everyone associated with USA Basketball, I want to thank these four great coaches for stepping up to lead the young men who will proudly wear USA into international competition.”

As head coach, Kerr will lead the USA National Team in 2022-24, which will include all USA Men’s National Team training camps, and, if the USA qualifies, the 2023 FIBA World Cup that is scheduled to be held in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia from Aug. 25-Sept. 10, 2023, and the 2024 Summer Olympic Games that is scheduled for July 26-Aug. 11 in Paris, France.

“I’m incredibly honored and humbled to represent our country as the head coach for the USA Basketball Men’s National Team,” said Kerr. “It’s a thrilling opportunity and I’m excited for the challenge.

“Obviously, there are numerous people who I need to acknowledge and thank, notably Grant Hill, Jim Tooley and Sean Ford of USA Basketball, and of course Gregg Popovich and Jerry Colangelo, who gave me the opportunity to be an assistant coach on the most recent USA staff.  

“I’m also beyond excited to work with three coaches I have enormous respect for in Erik Spoelstra, Monty Williams and Mark Few. Coaching the USA Men’s National Team comes with great responsibility — one that calls for a group effort with a team of coaches committed to the team, to the goal and to each other — and I couldn’t ask for a finer group of high character individuals to help me lead our national team. Our goal, of course, is to win and make our country proud.  We will work hard to do so.”

The USA men have won four consecutive Olympic gold medals (2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020) and have claimed FIBA World Cup championships in two of the past three competitions (2010, 2014).

“I’m thrilled to announce the coaching staff for the 2022-24 USA Basketball Men’s National Team, with Steve Kerr as head coach, and Mark Few, Erik Spoelstra and Monty Williams as assistant coaches. There is no question in my mind that this is an extremely experienced and talented coaching staff,” said Hill. “Steve now joins a list of coaching legends who have led USA men’s national teams to a remarkable legacy. 

“As a college and NBA player, he enjoyed remarkable success, helping his teams achieve great success. As a coach, he has cultivated outstanding chemistry and provided invaluable leadership which has led Golden State to enviable success including three NBA Championships. In his role as an assistant coach for coach Popovich and the 2017-21 USA National Teams, he gained valuable insight and experience both with the USA National Team and in FIBA competitions. In my opinion, basketball people would agree that he was the ideal candidate to lead the USA National Team in the next three years.”

Since first fielding a team of legendary NBA stars in 1992, USA Basketball Men’s National Teams have claimed gold medals in 15 of 19 major FIBA basketball competitions, while compiling an impressive 146-10 overall record (.936 winning percentage) in those competitions and posting a record of 56-4 (.933 winning percentage) in exhibition games.