Just two seasons ago, Monty Williams had his team in the NBA Finals and was fresh off winning Coach of the Year, but he has joined a much different situation as head coach of the Detroit Pistons.
The Pistons were the worst team in the league last season, a far cry from the Suns, who won 45 games before getting beaten by the eventual NBA champs in the second round of the playoffs, which led to Williams suddenly being on the coaching market.
The Pistons swooped and made Monty Williams a very rich man, but in the process, he went from coaching a contender to coaching a rebuild, which will require patience and a change in his approach from last season.
Detroit Pistons: Monty Williams’ patience will be tested
Williams is going to have to immediately adjust from coaching a contender with seasoned veterans as its top players to coaching a young roster that is still trying to develop the talent that will be its foundation.
Luckily, Williams has experience at doing just that, as he took over the Suns when there were in a similar position as the Pistons are now. Phoenix had some tantalizing young talent, but were coming off a season where they won 19 games. Sound familiar?
Williams was able to boost that total right away, and in the process, develop some of the talent that is still carrying the Suns.
It can’t be easy to go from one of the best teams in the league to the worst in the span of one offseason, so Williams will have to change his approach from coaching a team that was expected to compete for a title to one that just wants to compete.
He’ll have to balance his desire to win right away with the development of his young players, a balancing act he was able to pull off in Phoenix. He won’t have Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Kevin Durant to lean on, but will instead be tasked with developing Detroit’s own versions of these guys while also making progress in the standings.
The Detroit Pistons have faith that he’s the guy to do it, but both the team and Monty Williams are going to have to exercise patience as their young players learn the game and gain the experience needed to be winners.