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Phoenix Suns' Monty Williams named NBCA Coach of the Year

Phoenix Suns' Monty Williams named NBCA Coach of the Year
Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams, shown Aug. 8, 2020, guided the Suns to a 51-21 record and the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference this season. File Photo by Erik S. Lesser/EPA-EFE

May 18 (UPI) -- Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams won the National Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year Award, it was announced Tuesday.

The NBA's 30 head coaches vote on the award, which has been named in honor of former NBCA executive director Michael Goldberg, who died in 2017.

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"I am overjoyed to receive the Michael H. Goldberg Coach of the Year Award from the National Basketball Coaches Association," Williams said in a statement. "I hold the utmost respect and admiration for the coaches in this league, so to be recognized by my peers is an incredible honor.

"Every coach in our league sacrifices a ton to make their teams and organizations better, so this is unbelievably humbling."

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Williams, who inherited a team that went 19-63 two years ago, guided the stumbling Suns organization to a 51-21 record and the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs this season.

The 49-year-old Williams led the Suns to their first Pacific Division title since 2007, as Phoenix became the fifth team in league history to improve its win total by 15 or more games in successive seasons.

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The Suns were one of only four teams to be ranked in the top 10 in both defense (sixth) and offense (seventh) in the 2020-21 campaign.

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"This award is far bigger than myself and is a result of the work put in every day by our players, coaching staff, and the entire Suns organization under the leadership of James Jones and Robert Sarver," Williams said.

"This has been a unique year in its challenges, and I am grateful for the tremendous spirit with which our players and staff have approached each day to make this a special season."

Among those also receiving votes for the award: the Washington Wizards' Scott Brooks; the Denver Nuggets' Michael Malone; the Atlanta Hawks' Nate McMillan; the Philadelphia 76ers' Doc Rivers; the Utah Jazz's Quin Snyder and the New York Knicks' Tom Thibodeau.

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