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NBA execs overwhelmingly like the Suns’ Monty Williams hire

Phoenix Suns new NBA basketball head coach Monty Williams speaks at a news conference, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

There’s much to prove for the Phoenix Suns this season. They begin 2019-20 under their third head coach in three seasons — fourth if we consider interim head coach Jay Triano.

Roster churning around Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton on paper looks like an improvement, but the culture shock general manager James Jones wanted to hit his franchise with began with the hiring of coach Monty Williams.

Williams was viewed as one of the top candidates on the NBA job market this offseason, and Phoenix’s ability to recruit him was viewed as a win. NBA.com’s annual GM survey shows that the perception of the Williams hire isn’t only positive in fan and NBA media circles.

Forty-three percent of executives polled picked Williams when asked to choose “which new or relocated head coach will make the biggest impact on his new team?”

Frank Vogel of the Lakers (21%), Luke Walton of the Kings (18%), John Beilein of the Cavaliers (11%) and Taylor Jenkins of the Grizzlies (7%) also earned votes in the survey.

This offseason, after firing coach Igor Kokoskov following one year on the job, the Suns hired Williams away from his assistant position with the Philadelphia 76ers. They also had to court Williams as the rival Los Angeles Lakers were reportedly showing interest and interviewing candidates for their open head coaching position.

Williams has a long resume. He played in the NBA from 1994-2003 and coached with the Portland Trail Blazers as an assistant from 2005-10.

Williams met Jones, then a player, during that stop before he became the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans head coach from 2010-15. Williams also spent time on the Oklahoma City Thunder staff from 2015-16 before taking a leave from the NBA world following the death of his wife.

Getting back into the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs front office in 2016, Williams then spent last season with the 76ers before making the leap back into the head coaching seat.

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