PHOENIX SUNS

Monty Williams deserved to be fired by Suns, more changes warranted

May 14, 2023, 3:18 PM

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams hands off the ball during a break in the action during the f...

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams hands off the ball during a break in the action during the first half of Game 2 in the second round of the NBA Western Conference playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, Wednesday, May 4, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

Monty Williams got what he deserved.

He once stood on a pedestal in Phoenix, praised for instilling culture, mentoring young players, returning respect and dignity to a fallen NBA franchise. He was a servant leader unburdened by ego and full of homespun country platitudes.

Don’t get happy on the farm.

Well done is better than well said.

Everything you want is on the other side of hard.

Just like Mike D’Antoni, there was a time when Phoenix Suns fans hoped he’d be the head coach forevermore.

Alas, Williams also deserved the termination notice he received over the weekend. He was badly outclassed over the past two postseasons, butchering his rotations and rarely in control of the moment. He was schooled by a former assistant (New Orleans Pelicans head coach Willie Green) and he made Jason Kidd look great by comparison, something never said before or after the Dallas Mavericks’ stunning upset of the Suns in 2022. In consecutive seasons, his team was blown out at home in elimination games.

The Suns need a new voice at the top. Someone who can scheme and counterscheme and lose his mind when necessary. Someone better equipped to empower and motivate an aging team built around a pair of superstars. And the changes are just beginning.

General Manager James Jones is surely next on the chopping block. According to reports, it was Ishbia’s decision to fire Williams. It was also Ishbia’s decision to include Mikal Bridges in a trade for aging superstar Kevin Durant. Jones doesn’t seem to have much influence at the moment, and his instincts seem to be running counter to his new boss.

Jones is considered the architect of the great turnaround in Phoenix. He’s done some heavy lifting and also made some terrible mistakes. He drafted Jalen Smith when Tyrese Haliburton was so obvious and necessary. He was seduced by Landry Shamet, and he failed to plan ahead for yet another predictable Chris Paul postseason injury.

I believe in Ishbia, his expectations and his energy. It’s time for a new head coach and it’s time for a new regime. Maybe poach Bob Myers, Steve Kerr and Draymond Green from Golden State all at once. Or maybe lure Green from New Orleans.

Either way, let’s hope the new owner is working in tandem with Devin Booker, who still hasn’t spoken with the media following a second consecutive playoff debacle.

Let’s hope a new coach is all it takes to soothe Booker’s frustrations in Phoenix.

Reach Bickley at dbickley@arizonasports.com. Listen to Bickley & Marotta weekdays from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. on 98.7.

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Monty Williams deserved to be fired by Suns, more changes warranted