Where does Phoenix Suns’ Monty Williams rank among NBA head coaches?

Phoenix Suns, Monty Williams, Chris Paul, Devin Booker (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns, Monty Williams, Chris Paul, Devin Booker (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Phoenix Suns have clearly identified Monty Williams as their head coach for the future, evident by a recent contraction extension for the 50-year-old.

After a long line of underwhelming head coaches that were often axed at the first possible turn, Williams has cemented himself as a long-term cornerstone of the Suns after an impressive opening three seasons, culminating in winning Coach of the Year in 2022.

Monty Williams has turned the complexion of the Phoenix Suns over the past few seasons, but where does he stand amongst other NBA head coaches?

While we can examine offensive and defensive analytics among other factors, coaches legacies are ultimately defined by their win-loss percentage and playoff success.

It’s easy to forget that Williams was a head coach prior to the Suns, taking control of the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans between 2010 and 2015. His career win percentage of 51.9% fails to paint a picture of his success at the Suns, with the franchise winning 65.6% of games under his tutelage.

That win percentage is good for fourth in the league among coaches with their current team, sitting behind the Milwaukee Bucks’ Mike Budenholzer, Golden State Warriors’ Steve Kerr, and San Antonio Spurs’ legend Gregg Popovich.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images) /

Although Williams is not a young coach anymore, he sits just 12th in games coached of the current crop. As good as we may consider him to be, he hasn’t yet reached the mountaintop like many of his contemporaries.

Popovich and Kerr have etched themselves into history, winning five and four championship respectively as a head coach. So too has Erik Spoelstra, leading the Heat to titles in 2012 and 2013. While Doc Rivers’ coaching has been questioned, particularly in the playoffs, his résumé does include a championship, Coach of the Year award, and a place alongside the above three in the NBA’s ‘top 15 coaches of all-time’ list.

Others to have won championships as a head coach include Budenholzer, Rick Carlisle, Tyronn Lue and Nick Nurse. While Williams has yet to taste the ultimate success those four have, he could comfortable plant himself among the same wave.

That makes him a current top ten coach at minimum, a fair summation given his team’s performances over the past two seasons. Ranking him as such isn’t a sure-fire route to any type of success, but it does give credence to Phoenix and their championship credentials.

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Like the players who’ve been heavily scrutinised, Williams does hold blame for the team’s disastrous ending to the 2022 playoffs. For that, he has some ground to make up among Suns’ fans. Fortunately for him, the franchise will provide him ample opportunity to be able to achieve that.