Ultimately, the Suns’ season was lost before it began, with Deandre Ayton receiving a max contract but no contact from his coach. Williams’s strength with the Suns was his man management and ability to serve as a guidance counselor, father figure, and role model for what was once a very young team.
The coaching staff has to accept some of Ayton’s failure
However, as the Suns grew, Williams failed to grow with them and, most importantly, failed with Ayton. How a team can have a big man who can do as much as Ayton can and limit him to 15-foot jumpers three to four times per half is beyond me. The easy blame is to say Ayton doesn’t have that dog in him, or he can’t do it.
Frankly, Ayton was better in his second year than he is now because Williams and the Suns have failed him as much as he has failed us. Like pitchers and the Diamondbacks, Deandre will probably leave in the offseason, go somewhere to be a focal point of the offensive system, and thrive, winning an MVP or two.
Does anyone believe for a minute Ty Lou can’t get more out of Ayton? What about Eric Spoelstra or Greg Popovich? The guards AND the big man can flourish in a competent offensive system.
The Suns fading in the playoffs has a lot of blame to go around, and Jones and several players will get theirs as the offseason rolls on. However, it is obvious that Williams has taken the Suns as far as he can, and if they are ever going to climb that mountain, they need a coach with the Xs and Os to match the best in the league.
Phoenix had a year to figure out the first-quarter yips that cost them what should have been a championship last season. Instead, we have another summer of regret and change. On the bright side, there is no Sarver controversy to cloud the offseason, and the team has an owner willing to take risks to win, on and off the court. Can he and Phoenix make the offseason count and end our long-suffering in the Valley of the Suns?