Sports

Suns’ Williams voted top coach by NBA peers

Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams has been voted the National Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year, it was announced Tuesday.

The league’s 30 head coaches vote on the award, which has been named in honor of former NBCA executive director Michael Goldberg, who died in 2017.

“I hold the utmost respect and admiration for the coaches in this league, so to be recognized by my peers is an incredible honor,” Williams said in a statement. “Every coach in our league sacrifices a ton to make their teams and organizations better, so this is unbelievably humbling.”

Williams resurrected the foundering Suns franchise, leading Phoenix to a 51-21 regular-season record and the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. He led the Suns to their first Pacific Division title since 2007, and they became the fifth team in league history to improve their win total by 15 or more games in successive seasons. Phoenix improved by 17 games this season — in a shortened, 72-game regular season.

The Suns were one of only four teams to be ranked in the top 10 in defense (6th) and offense (7th) this season.

“This award is far bigger than myself and is a result of the work put in everyday by our players, coaching staff, and the entire Suns organization under the leadership of James Jones and Robert Sarver,” Williams said in his statement. “This has been a unique year in its challenges, and I am grateful for the tremendous spirit with which our players and staff have approached each day to make this a special season — Everything Counts!”

Two years ago, Williams inherited a team that had gone 19-63.

Among those also receiving votes: Washington’s Scott Brooks, Denver’s Michael Malone, Atlanta’s Nate McMillan, Philadelphia’s Doc Rivers, Utah’s Quin Snyder and New York’s Tom Thibodeau.

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