Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton didn’t like Monty Williams at first

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images) /

Woj invited Phoenix Suns big man, Deandre Ayton onto this podcast and the two talked about many things including his relationship with Monty Williams.

The Phoenix Suns oft embattled star, Deandre Ayton, sat down with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN on the Woj Pod. The two discussed everything from his sheltered life after moving to the United States from the Bahamas to the Suns’ strong performance in the bubble.

However, the most ear-catching moment came with how glib he was on his first impression of Head Coach Monty Williams. When Woj asked him what it was like when Monty first walked through and tried to form a relationship with him, Ayton said:

"“That was hard. It was hard. We learned a lot of lessons too. Book and I, we’re young dudes, so I could see how an OG coach like Coach Monty would want to approach us. I could see him trying to get around and just get to know us in today’s world, but he’s old school. He tell ya how he feel….Breaking the ice with Coach Monty, talking, having dinners, you know, I didn’t really like it at first because I never really had a coach who was always on my back and really cared. Parentheses around really care like they say they do.”"

So, it sounds like it wasn’t so much Ayton didn’t like Williams, per se, but more that Williams was a stark difference than any coach he had before, it really threw him off.

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Ayton’s suspension from the Phoenix Suns helped him grow closer to Monty.

Ayton went on to explain how the suspension really gave him more respect for “Coach Monty.” After letting Sarver and James Jones know over the phone, he had to tell Williams at the team hotel in Denver.

"“He said, ‘Okay, DA. This is just something you’re going to learn from. This is part of your journey, your dynasty. This is it. This is part of your story, young buck.’ And [I thought] this is not a coach! This is reverend, this is a preacher, I don’t know what’s happening. And hearing that kind of wisdom…it just kind of put me at ease.”"

While I have no doubt Monty Williams has done great things and is a perfect fit for this team, Ayton didn’t really have a high bar set from “Coach Igor” last season. The way Ayton explains last season:

"“I would say no one was held accountable at all for their actions. There was no [leadership]. ‘I just saw him do that so why you telling me to stop?'”"

Related Story. Suns overcome Ayton's blunder to beat Thunder. light

Ayton also went on to talk about how much he has matured and how he has become a student of the game.

Of course, he had this conversation on the exact same day he missed his COVID-19 test causing him to join the team late for the game against the Thunder, so take his self-proclaimed newfound maturity with a similar faith that you might have in his ability to dunk on someone’s head instead of shoot a middy.

Even with the missed test, Monty Williams appeared much more understanding than many fans. He called it a mistake and says even he sometimes wonders during the day if he remembered to get tested or not.

Ultimately, Ayton sharing his thoughts on how much “Coach Monty” has helped him is very encouraging. Also, listening to about how hard his life was growing up as a basketball prodigy living a sheltered life in a mentor’s house away from his mom helps you understand where some of his quirkiness might come from.

Ayton will continue to grow, and with it, so will the Phoenix Suns.

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