The NBA season is down to its final 4-7 games. There have been some interesting developments along the way involving teams who weren’t participating in the playoffs. John Beilein left Michigan to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers. The dust settled in LA long enough for Frank Vogel to be named the Lakers new coach, and then the drama quickly started once again.
Prior to all of that, Monty Williams was named head coach of the Phoenix Suns. It’s been a tumultuous few years for the Suns who haven’t made the playoffs since 2010 and last saw a winning season in 2013-14.
A return to contention is the goal and there’s been a nice tradition of that historically.
Nash and Stoudemire were a force to be reckoned with and probably should have made it to the Finals at least once.
Chuck got Phoenix to the Finals and took the Bulls to six games.
The Suns were also involved in one of the greatest NBA Finals games ever played.
KJ put The Dream on one of the best posters ever.
Tom Chambers gave Mark Jackson a “Mama, there goes that man” moment way back in the day.
The history of contending is there. The Jeff Hornacek, Earl Watson, Jay Triano and Igor Kokoskov eras have been especially lean. The early years of Robert Sarver’s ownership tenure are fading further and further into the distance as well.
Since leaving Kentucky, losing seasons and coaching changes have become all too common for Devin Booker. While his team has been languishing at the bottom of the Western Conference he’s watched many of his fellow UK brethren play beyond game No. 82.
The knock had been that Cal got lots of guys into the NBA but none of them had made an impact in the playoffs. That changed this season when 12 former Cats made the playoffs. Once the conference finals were set it was guaranteed that a former Kentucky player would win a ring. DeMarcus Cousins and the Warriors eliminated Enes Kanter and Skal Labissiere of the Trail Blazers. In the east Toronto’s Jodie Meeks and assistant coach Jamaal Magloire (they predate Cal but you get the point) advanced past Eric Bledsoe and Milwaukee.
Booker has been putting up numbers since entering the league but hasn’t had any team success to go along with it. Monty Williams has been overcoming adversity for years. From a heart condition that appeared to end his playing career, to the tragic passing of his wife of 20 years to the ups and downs of life as an NBA coach.
Monty Williams has endured tough, real life situations. Inheriting a Suns team coming off of a 19-63 campaign pales in comparison.
He’s had a young team on the cusp before with Anthony Davis when he was the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans. In Phoenix, he’ll have Booker and others to build around. For his sake and everyone else’s in the Valley of the Sun, hopefully they’re able to return to contending again sooner rather than later.