Spurs 'tree of influence' carries on with Suns coach Monty Williams

[adinserter block=”2″]

Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the first half of Game Two of the Western Conference Second Round NBA Playoffs at Footprint Center on May 04, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. 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. 

Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the first half of Game Two of the Western Conference Second Round NBA Playoffs at Footprint Center on May 04, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. 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. 

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns, the favorites in the Western Conference, are duking it out in the postseason for a chance to win their first NBA title in franchise history. Along the way, some similarities are being drawn between head coach Monty Williams’ team and the “Beautiful Game” Spurs of 2014. The Suns, led by Devin Booker and Chris Paul, are playing a patient game that mirrors the Spurs method of “pounding the rock.”

Before the Suns hosted the Dallas Mavericks in the conference semifinals, Williams — a finalist for the NBA Coach of the Year Award — looked back on his time as a Spurs player and front office leader. Williams played for the Spurs from 1996-98 then joined the coaching staff as an intern. In 2016, he rejoined the team as president of basketball operations. NBA.com senior writer Michael C. Wright shared Williams’ thoughts on his former employer via Twitter on Wednesday, April 4. 

“Monty Williams called San Antonio an ‘opportunity school’ that allows former players and coaches the space to find out what they really want to do in the NBA business,” Wright’s tweet says. “He credited Pop and RC Buford for allowing him the opportunity to explore.”

It’s unclear what prompted the response, but the team’s support of its players finding new pathways in the league is exemplified by San Antonio legends like Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. After hanging up their jerseys, each NBA champion took on a role within the organization. Duncan took on an assistant coach role in 2019 and Ginobili serves as a special advisor to basketball operations.

Williams — now a consecutive winner of the NBCA Coach of the Year Award — is just one of many coaches in the playoffs that have been influenced by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. Former Spurs player Steve Kerr is now the Golden State Warriors head coach; former player and assistant Ime Udoka is in his first year as head coach of the Boston Celtics; and longtime assistant Mike Budenholzer is now head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks along with assistant coach Chad Forcier, who was also part of Pop’s staff. That doesn’t include the list of former Spurs players still in the playoffs. 

While the Spurs effect is evident, the team is more than a sort of incubator program. The team has fostered a culture in San Antonio with the staying power that kept David Robinson, Duncan, and Ginobili in a Spurs jersey for the entirety of their NBA careers. Tony Parker was with the Spurs for most of his career, save his final season when he played for the Charlotte Hornets. 


Fans noted the term “opportunity school” doesn’t translate into a compliment and said the organization should be seen more than a stepping stone in the NBA. 








[adinserter block=”1″]
#Spurs #tree #influence #carries #Suns #coach #Monty #Williams


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.