Phoenix Suns' Monty Williams is NBA coach of the year

Agence France-Presse

Posted at May 10 2022 09:20 AM

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams reacts during the first quarter of Game 3 of the NBA playoffs between the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA, 27 May 2021. File photo. Etienne Laurent, EPA-EFE
Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams reacts during the first quarter of Game 3 of the NBA playoffs between the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA, 27 May 2021. File photo. Etienne Laurent, EPA-EFE

NEW YORK -- Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams was named NBA coach of the year on Monday after guiding the franchise to a league-leading 64-win campaign.

The NBA said in a statement Williams won the nod for the Red Auerbach Trophy after beating out Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins and Miami Heat boss Erik Spoelstra.

It is the first time the 50-year-old Williams has received the award. 

He is the third Phoenix coach to win coach of the year after Cotton Fitzsimmons (1988-89) and Mike D'Antoni (2004-05).

In a preferential ballot of 100 sports journalists and broadcasters, Williams received 458 points after receiving 81 first place votes.

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Memphis head coach Jenkins finished in second place with 270 points (17 first-place votes) while Miami's Spoelstra finished in third place with 72 points (one first-place vote).

Coaches were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.

The Suns have enjoyed a transformation in fortunes under Williams, who took over in 2019 after a season as an assistant at the Philadelphia 76ers.

After missing out on the postseason in his first season in charge with a 34-39 record, he led Phoenix to the NBA Finals in 2020-2021 after a 51-21 record.

This year Phoenix finished top of the Western Conference with a 64-18 -- the best record in the NBA, and the highest winning percentage (.780) in franchise history.

Top seeds Phoenix are currently locked in a tight playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, level at 2-2 in the best-of-seven series.

© Agence France-Presse