Less than two weeks after firing head coach Igor Kokoskov, the Phoenix Suns have hired his replacement — Monty Williams.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Monty Williams has agreed to a deal to become the next head coach of the Phoenix Suns. The deal, reportedly for five-years, may be a fairly optimistic agreement for both sides considering the Suns recent history. They fired Igor Kokoskov after one season. They fired Earl Watson the season before, after three games. Watson had one full season at the head of the bench, taking over for Jeff Hornacek who was fired 49 games into the 2015-16 season.
Monty Williams is a well-regarded candidate who, reportedly, also received interest from the Lakers for their open head coaching position. Williams was an assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers and had been out of coaching for two seasons before that, in part due to the tragic death of his wife. Williams was previously the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans from 2010 to 2015, compiling a 173-221 record and leading his team to the playoffs twice in five seasons.
Williams will certainly have his work cut out for him with the Suns. They have a lot to work with: a budding star in Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton on the path to becoming a dominant offensive big man, and solid wings with upside in Kelly Oubre Jr. and Mikal Bridges. In addition, they have a 14 percent chance of landing the top pick in this year’s draft, which could turn into Zion Williamson. Still, for all the young talent on the roster, it’s been nine years since the Suns made the playoffs and four years since they broke 30 wins. They were 28th in offensive efficiency and 29th in defensive efficiency last season with lots of bad habits to break.
Williams has a great reputation for dealing with players and the Suns could certainly use someone to bring cohesion to this roster. Let’s see how he handles digging Phoenix out of this enormous hole they find themselves in.