Monty Williams a ‘third-world dictator’ for the Phoenix Suns? Excellent.

Monty Williams Phoenix Suns (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Monty Williams Phoenix Suns (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

New Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams used an interesting term when describing himself as a coach, drawing a distinct dichotomy between he and his predecessor, Igor Kokoskov.

“Get angry!”


“Get a technical!”

“Get yourself ejected!”

“Quit standing there like a cardboard cutout and do  something!”

If you didn’t shout at least one of those phrases at former Phoenix Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov last season, then you were rooting for the other team.

Of the many gripes that Suns fans had with Igor in his only season as head coach, likely the biggest was that even with all of the terrible calls that his players had called against them, he rarely allowed himself to become incensed enough to have a technical foul called on himself.

With all of the moments that a head coach should have thrown a clipboard in the direction of a referee, all of the times where his team needed a kick in the butt and he instead chose to stoically stare rather than flamboyantly become a menace to the 13 people on the court, Igor Kokoskov instead took until the 61st game of the season to get his first tech – and in a situation that actually was weird for him to get it – and receiving only two on the year, earning is second on April 5, for accidentally walking too far onto the court during a free throw attempt.

For a team of players that led the league  in technical fouls (85 with second place Golden State at 77), Igor got two.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

But now in comes Monty Williams, a head coach cut from any entirely different cloth, and fans should expect a fresh scenario in which the team’s new head coach doesn’t stand there and stare.

In fact, Monty recently described himself in a very interesting way (tongue and cheek of course – well sort of).

When discussing how he might act as a Summer League coach (which he has done on several occasions in the past), he laughed when saying that he could see himself “getting a tech acting like a third-world dictator,” very much the opposite of what fans expected of Kokoskov.

Imagine that?

Imagine yelling “get yourself ejected!” at the TV screen with the Suns down 15 points in the third quarter, the Suns playing listlessly against a lowly opponent, and he does.

In an obvious instance of wanting to light a fire under his young team’s butt, Williams does  act a little bit like a third-world dictator and not only gets his two techs but gets his monies  worth yelling at the refs.

How proud would you be at that moment as a Suns fan to see that Phoenix’s head coach has the same fire and emotion on the court as you do on the couch, then (hopefully) see the players react in-kind mounting a comeback and stealing a victory from the jaws of defeat?

To be fair to Kokoskov, I often saw his point in not getting needless techs.

Yelling at the refs generally does nothing positive, and it certainly never leads to a call being over-turned. Plus a technical foul means a free throw to the other team, and more often than not an extra point, which at least last season meant an extra point added to an already growing deficit.

Igor wanted his young squad to control their emotions and control the part of the game they could themselves control and not let the referees dictate whether they won or lost or even stayed in a game.

Yet at the same time the young Suns were regularly bullied about and never gained respect from the officials, negative results often attributed to the team being  young – an entirely unfair treatment in a game when officiating should remain unbiased to provide fairness to both sides (something we all know does not exist and but should at least be feigned).

For months Phoenix suffered under those circumstances and the players felt like they had to take the law into their own hands, which Igor regularly and publicly scolded them, rarely ever coming to their defense.

In 2019-20, if Monty Williams approaches his leadership task from an entirely different direction, taking the side of the players while on the court, defending them to the death whether it is face-to-face with the referees themselves or in the media, the players will have a world of weight lifted off of their shoulders, hopefully freeing them to focus be more intensely on their games and less on playing five on eight, no longer leading the league in technical fouls – and wasted points.

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While no one should expect Monty Williams to be a “third-world dictator,” the fact that he notes that he expects to be a much more aggressive coach on the sidelines than his predecessor should be music to fan’s ears, and the players.

Strategic technical fouls are not necessarily a bad thing, but defending one’s team, especially with such a young roster, can only help both build their confidence in the coach himself, respect from the referees, and across the league.