Suns HC Monty Williams: Willie Green ‘helped us build this program’

Apr 16, 2022, 6:00 PM
Suns assistant coach Willie Green stands behind head coach Monty Williams during a timeout in their...
Suns assistant coach Willie Green stands behind head coach Monty Williams during a timeout in their game Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center on December 27, 2020 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams does not anticipate any friendships being damaged in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

The Suns will face the New Orleans Pelicans, whose head coach, Willie Green, is close with Williams and Phoenix’s players.

Green played under Williams in 2010-11 with the New Orleans Hornets and later became Williams’ lead assistant coach with the Suns from 2019-21.

Williams told reporters on Saturday that the two won’t pretend they aren’t friends, but they both understand the job ahead.

“Willie helped us build this program and a lot of the things they do are what we do,” Williams said. “Those points in the game where you know the play that’s coming, it’s dealing with the talent.”

Williams said in playoff series, the two teams typically learn what to expect of each other after a couple of games, and the rest of the battle comes down to execution. There will be added familiarity in this case, but that does not change the end goal for the Suns.

“I’m sure there’s gonna be some things that they know about us that are shared from Willie and vice versa,” Williams said. “But at the end of the day, it’s always gonna come down to finishing the plays.”

Much of the Suns roster worked with Green, and guards Devin Booker and Chris Paul said they were excited to see their former assistant coach clinch a spot in the playoffs on Friday night.

Paul has an especially extensive history with Green as teammates. The two were on the Hornets together and coached by Williams in 2010-11. They became teammates again for two seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers.

“I talk to Willie all the time, all the time,” Paul said. “Throughout the season, good, bad, indifferent, more than just about basketball.”

Game 1 is set for Sunday at 6 p.m. from Footprint Center. You can tune in on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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