Suns' Monty Williams Named 2022 NBA COY over Taylor Jenkins, Erik Spoelstra

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 9, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 06:  Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns in the second quarter at Crypto.com Arena on April 06, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The NBA announced Monday that Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns is the winner of the Coach of the Year Award for the 2021-22 season.

NBA Communications @NBAPR

This is the first NBA Coach of the Year Award for Monty Williams, who joins Cotton Fitzsimmons (1988-89) and Mike D’Antoni (2004-05) as head coaches to earn the honor with the Phoenix Suns.<br><br>More ➡️ <a href="https://t.co/obiypxju1g">https://t.co/obiypxju1g</a><br><br>Voting results ⬇️ <a href="https://t.co/EcZNzURSOc">pic.twitter.com/EcZNzURSOc</a>

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium first reported the news.

The Memphis Grizzlies' Taylor Jenkins and Miami Heat's Erik Spoelstra were the award's other finalists.

It was a crowded race for much of the campaign, with the Boston Celtics' Ime Udoka and Cleveland Cavaliers' J.B. Bickerstaff among the other coaches who emerged as strong candidates before the finalists were announced last week.

Williams is a first-time winner of the honor. Don Nelson, Gregg Popovich and Pat Riley hold the record with three Coach of the Year Awards each.

The Suns entered the season among the top title contenders after reaching the 2021 NBA Finals. While the Coach of the Year is typically geared toward coaches who get their teams to exceed expectations, their level of dominance kept Williams at the forefront of the discussion.

Phoenix posted a 64-18 record during the regular season, which was eight games better than its closest competition (Grizzlies, 56-26). It posted identical 32-9 marks at home and on the road.

Several of his players strongly endorsed his candidacy in late March.

"It shouldn't even be close," point guard Chris Paul told reporters. "No disrespect to all those other coaches and what they're doing, but what are you watching if this man doesn't get Coach of the Year?"

Center Deandre Ayton added: "I'm going to Mars if he don't get it. If he don't get it, you will see Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton headed to Mars cuz Monty didn't."

The Suns have proceeded to the second round, though only regular-season results are considered in the award's voting.

Williams previously received the National Basketball Coaches Association's Coach of the Year Award for the second straight season, which is voted on by his fellow coaches.

"The coaches in our league sacrifice so much to serve their teams, and there are so many outstanding coaches deserving of this honor," he said. "It is incredibly humbling to again receive this recognition from this group, for whom I hold the utmost respect."

Williams spent 10 years in the NBA as a player before the switch to coaching in 2005. The 50-year-old has led the Phoenix staff since 2019.