Monty Williams says his Phoenix Suns players deserve to share some of the credit after he landed the NBA Coach of the Year award.
(This article was originally published on 10.05.2022)
Phoenix are 3/1 to win the NBA Championship outright, while Western Conference rivals Golden State Warriors can be backed at 19/10.
Williams led Phoenix to the top seed in the Western Conference with a league-best 64-18 overall record.
The 50-year-old finished ahead of Memphis Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins and Erik Spoelstra of Miami Heat in the voting, having come home in second place behind Tom Thibodeau of New York Knicks last year.
Williams was delighted to pick up the honour but he says his players and everyone involved with the day-to-day running of the team and higher up in the organisation also deserve recognition.
"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 for the players," said Williams, via abc News. "Nobody walks into the gym and hopes that their guys play poorly and tells them not to work and, 'Please, don't play defense.' We don't do that. In order to get an award like this, it takes a lot of people.
"There's so many people that help us have a consistent day and they create a bubble for us to have success. Yeah, my name will go on the plaque, or whatever, but my name represents a lot of names."
Williams is in his third season as Suns coach, having spent five years with New Orleans Pelicans before joining the team, and last year they fell just short of claiming the championship as they went down 4-2 in the NBA Finals to Milwaukee Bucks.
Phoenix will look to go one better this year but they are involved in a real battle in their second round series with Dallas Mavericks.
The Suns won the first two games but then suffered back-to-back defeats in Dallas and the series is tied at 2-2 ahead of Game 5 in Phoenix on Tuesday.